Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone said his side had beaten Liverpool before their tie began on Tuesday after the incredible reception their team bus received outside the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Los Rojiblancos proceeded to record a 1-0 win over the Reds in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie courtesy of a goal from Saul Niguez.
Simeone told Movistar “We started winning on the roundabout next to the stadium. In eight years, I’ve never seen a reception like that.”
In his post-match press conference, Simeone added: “[The atmosphere] was exciting, it makes you want to play. The team responded with great effort, as they did in Valencia.
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“It was not [the best night] because we didn’t get a title, but there are nights you don’t forget, and this was one of them.
“The best team in the world comes after a lot of wins and you beat them.”
Simeone’s men went ahead inside four minutes when Saul struck from close range after a corner fell kindly for him.
Liverpool had eight shots over the course of the game, but they weren’t able to test Jan Oblak with any of them.
Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson had their best chances, but the former glanced a free header wide when he should have hit the target and the latter also narrowly missed with a volley.
At the other end, Alisson was on hand to keep out Morata after he latched onto a miscued header from Virgil van Dijk and escaped the attentions of Fabinho.
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The defending champions have the chance to turn things around at Anfield on March 11, and they’ll take heart from their Champions League semi-final last year. The Reds won 4-0 at Anfield having lost 3-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first leg.
Although they may only have a one-goal deficit to overturn, defensively Atletico are one of the best sides in world football. Only Real Madrid have conceded fewer than their 17 goals in 24 La Liga matches this season.