Madrid vs Liverpool Predictions and 2020 Champions League Round of 16 Preview
When Atletico Madrid and Liverpool clash on Tuesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchups, it will be just their second-ever Champions League encounter after the 2008 group stage where both gamed finished in a tie. The two teams did meet again in the Europa League semi-finals in 2010 with Madrid prevailing on away goals. Liverpool are in the Round of 16 once again thanks to topping Group E with 13 points (W4, D1, L1) over second-place Napoli. Atletico Madrid finished six points adrift of Juventus for second in Group D, but four points up on third place Leverkusen.
Atletico Madrid has never won a European title in their history but do hold the dubious distinction of being the only European side to make it to three Champions League Finals without winning a single one.
As for Liverpool, the defending champions will be eager to progress past this round and take another step towards defending their crown. However, this is a tricky matchup for them as we all know how stingy Atletico can be defensively. With the EPL all but won, Liverpool can devote their undivided attention to capturing their fifth European Title in the club's history.
As it currently stands, Liverpool is -400 favorites to advance to the quarter-finals. If you believe the Reds can conquer Europe for a second consecutive year, you can grab them at +400 on the futures board which has them joint favorites with Manchester City. If you are willing to back a long shot to win this trophy, you can grab Atletico Madrid at +3300 to triumph, or +275 to pull off the upset over Liverpool. If you need some help with deciding on who to choose, Doc's offers up a great soccer service for you that runs almost 24/7/365. You can sign up now by clicking here.
First Leg: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid; Wednesday, February 18 @ 3:00 pm
Second Leg: Anfield, Liverpool; Wednesday, March 11 @ 4:00 pm
Atletico Madrid Storylines
Atletico Madrid currently sits fourth in La Liga on 40 points, 13 points off of first place Real Madrid. They come into this fixture in poor form, having won just once over their last seven competitive matches. Goals have been especially hard to come by for Atletico during that stretch as they've scored just four total goals. We know Atletico are historically hard to score against, but they've kept just three clean sheets in their last 10 matches but do fare much better at home given the fact they've conceded just four times in their last 12 home matches. Can they keep a high-powered team like Liverpool off the scoresheet for just long enough to poach a goal? That's the question that remains to be answered, but if you've spent any time watching Liverpool play at all this season, you'd fancy the Red's chances at finding the back of the net.
From a lineup perspective, Madrid are going to be without the wunderkid Joao Felix, who is expected to miss this game through illness. Kieran Trippier will also miss this game through injury, while their talisman and goal-poacher, Diego Costa, is a game-time decision due to an injured hernia. I find it extremely hard to imagine Atletico being able to score more than one goal over this home and away series, which is why Liverpool is likely the play.
Probable Starting XI: Oblak; Arias, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Vitolo, Koke, Thomas, Saul; Morata, Correa
Liverpool had a bit of unfortunate scheduling luck this past weekend as they were stuck playing the Saturday night game, while Atletico Madrid played on Friday night, thus giving them a little more recovery time. However, The Reds are so far ahead of second place in the EPL that they were afforded the opportunity to give some guys some rest while still winning 1-0. Liverpool are in incredible form if you think about it, having won 16 straight matches (excluding domestic cups where they field a youth team) and have kept 12 clean sheets during that span. They've also lost just two of the last 12 matches overall in the Champions League knockout round.
Many feel that is Liverpool can just knock in a single away goal in this fixture, that they will be well on their way to advancing to the quarterfinals and they certainly have the team capable of doing that.
Liverpool welcomed back James Milner and Sadio Mane to the squad on the weekend, which means they are fully fit to play in this fixture. Other than that, Xherdan Shaqiri and Nathaniel Clyne remain the only two players out of service. And with a full lineup to choose from, the Reds should have the advantage at every position on the field.
Probable Starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool Predictions
The price tag for Liverpool to advance to the quarterfinals is quite steep at -400, and we don't recommend biting on that price. However, we feel that Liverpool will, in fact, win both games comfortably, so you can grab them at +115 to win the first leg and then roll those winnings onto Liverpool in the second leg, where they will be around -180 or -200 (Depending on the first leg result). Liverpool simply has too much firepower upfront, and they can score in a hurry on the counterattack. Atletico Madrid will just want to stay in the matchup as long as possible, very likely not committing too many bodies forward. If you give Liverpool time and space, they will make you pay.
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