UEFA Champions League
Kick-off: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm EST (Wanda Metropolitano)
Lines and Odds: Atletico +269/Liverpool +122 | Over: -123; Under: +109
Free UCL Pick Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
The Champions League 2020 knockout stage kicks off with the defending champions travelling to Madrid in a clash that sees two of the best defences in Europe going head to head. Liverpool currently boast the best defensive record in Europe's top five leagues having conceded only 15 goals after 26 games in the English top flight with Atletico not far behind, having conceded 17 in 24 league games. Their attacking output however, are poles apart with Liverpool having scored 61 goals compared to Atletico's measly 25.
Liverpool seem unstoppable this season and, on paper, are the best team in Europe and are favourites to take home the European crown for the second time in a row. They have won all but one of their league fixtures and topped their Champions League group which consisted of Napoli, RB Salzburg and Genk. They have lost a total of 2 times in all competitions - against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup and against Napoli in the UCL group stage. They are expected to continue their blazing form in the knockout stages of the Champions League against a struggling Atletico side.
Atletico haven't been this poor domestically in recent memory under Diego Simeone. Though they have continued to be solid defensively, they have lacked goals which has cost them dearly as they sit 4th in the LaLiga table having drawn as many games as they have won. In the group stage of the Champions League, they finished 2nd - 6 points behind Italian giants Juventus having lost 2 and drawn 1. They have won just 1 match out of their last 7 in all competitions including a loss on penalties to city rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final and elimination from Copa Del Rey at the hands of 3rd tier side Cultural Leonesa.
The upcoming tie seems to be destined to go Liverpool's way considering their respective forms this season but Simeone's men cannot be ruled out from springing a surprise with at least a draw at home.
Free UCL Prediction Liverpool v Atletico Madrid
Jan Oblak is arguably Atletico's most prized asset and is a huge contributor to the quality of their famous defence. He continues to be one of the best shot-stoppers in world football. Thomas Partey has been a revelation this season and has become Simeone's most important midfielder, screening the back line as well as controlling the tempo of their attack.
Sadio Mane seems to have overtaken Mohammad Salah as the star player of Klopp's gegen-pressing system that has taken England by storm. Virjil Van Djik is undoubtedly the best centre-back in the world and Liverpool have only improved since his arrival. He will be instrumental in keeping out Atletico's counter attacks.
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