It was a sport that started with fireworks and ended and not using a handshake.
Atletico Madrid supervisor Diego Simeone’s resolution to move down the tunnel with out shaking the hand of Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp was maybe not probably the most dignified ending to Wednesday’s match, but it surely took nothing away from what was a frantic and ferocious Champions League encounter.
Within the BT studio, former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch mentioned Simeone had “let himself down” and ex-Manchester Metropolis defender Joleon Lescott known as it “cowardly”.
However each managers have been fast to minimize the absence of the normal post-match present of respect earlier than something extra might be manufactured from it.
Klopp described it as “nothing”, including to BT Sport: “His response was like mine (when Atletico knocked Liverpool out at Anfield in 2020) not too good. He was clearly indignant, not with me however the sport, the world.”
Simeone concurred. “I do not usually greet after the sport,” he mentioned. “I don’t prefer it and I believe it isn’t wholesome as a result of there’ll at all times be somebody who is just not happy with the sport. They’ve a distinct tradition, which I don’t share.”
Each mentioned they might shake palms on the return leg at Anfield in two weeks’ time.
‘How we win it, I could not care much less’
What neither would wish to play down was the standard, depth and brilliance of the sport on the Wanda Metropolitano – a stadium that has seen Liverpool win the Champions League in 2019, lose 1-0 seven months later in a sport that contributed to the top of their title defence, and now this basic.
It swung a method – with Liverpool taking a two-goal lead after 13 minutes by Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita – after which again once more, with Antoine Griezmann’s double restoring parity earlier than the break.
The France ahead was on the centre of one other twist, together with his most likely unintentional however harmful excessive boot on Roberto Firmino drawing a straight crimson and giving Atletico 38 minutes to carry on with 10 males.
It was then a story of two penalties. A careless foul on Diogo Jota allowed Salah to attain his second to make it 3-2 earlier than the Portugal ahead was initially penalised for leaning on Jose Maria Gimenez within the field on the different finish.
A VAR-inspired examine at pitchside by the referee later and Atletico’s lifeline was taken away, permitting the Reds to make it three wins from three in Group B.
“A troublesome sport, which we anticipated,” mentioned Klopp. “We did surprisingly nicely originally. Did we anticipate it to be that offensive? Most likely not. It was not really easy. We scored two fantastic objectives then performed good soccer.
“It was 2-0 then clearly Atletico will not be too bothered about having possession. The primary purpose we gave away then the second, it was good play however the gaps we had there… that was not alright.
“At half time I believe everybody within the stadium thought it was solely going a method and we thought ‘let’s give it a correct attempt once more’.
“We performed a extremely strong second half in a troublesome sport with intense soccer from each groups.
“The soiled three factors are sometimes crucial and so they have been soiled tonight. That wasn’t our greatest soccer but it surely was an essential step.”
With regards to the 2 penalties and the crimson card, Klopp added: “I perceive that Atletico folks or Spanish persons are upset by a number of the choices however I believe our penalty is a transparent penalty. And the penalty for Atletico is just not a penalty however I used to be a bit stunned they took it again.
“The crimson card – after all it is unfortunate however I believe it is a crimson card. The foot is within the face.”
‘Liverpool preserve discovering a approach’
Former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson, appearing as summariser on BBC Radio 5 Dwell, was understandably impressed with the sport and likewise with the continued resilience of his previous facet.
“The place do you begin with this?” he mentioned. “Initially, Liverpool have gained, and that is crucial factor.
“They performed rather well first 20 minutes after which have been poor to finish up at 2-2. Only a fabulous sport. We have seen every thing that may occur in a soccer sport.
“Liverpool had a couple of issues, however they’ve gained and you may’t take that away from them.
“It is huge. Jurgen Klopp must decide each the great and dangerous bits out of it earlier than Manchester United on Sunday.
“However Liverpool preserve discovering a approach. They’ve 9 factors from three video games, so they could solely want a draw at house to Atletico [to progress].”