Four games took part in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 this midweek, with both English sides losing by a single goal.
Liverpool, last season’s winners, got off to a terrible start at the ground where they made history just nine months ago, conceding to Atletico after just four minutes to a Saul Niguez opener. Despite plenty of effort, Klopp’s team could not break down their opponents’ stubborn resistance, however, and will need their famous Anfield atmosphere to be their 12th man when the second leg takes place. Diego Simeone’s side have never lost a knockout Champions League tie at home while he has been manager, and they will be a threat on the break when Liverpool seek to repair the damage of this 1-0 first leg defeat in order to progress.
Borussia Dortmund took a while to get going, but eventually scored a narrow 2-1 victory over Paris St. Germain after two goals from Erling Haaland either side of what could yet be a vital Neymar strike gave the German side a slight advantage to head to the French capital with. Haaland scored two goals to make it 11 goals in just seven games for his new side, and Dormund will fancy their chances on the break against a leggy PSG side who constantly look to be disappointing the former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel on the sidelines.
Tottenham Hotspur were defeated 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as RB Leipzig scored a second half penalty through Timo Werner. In truth, Spurs, while they looked to miss the attacking edge of Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane, their world class forwards, looked dangerous on the break and decent in the attacking third of the pitch. At the back, however, they were eventually unpicked and while Ben Davies has been consistent most of the season, even leading to the loan sale of Danny Rose to Newcastle, he was at fault – and booked – in the penalty incident. Spurs -and Mourinho – have it all to do to prevent a fairly ignoble defeat in Germany in a few weeks time.
Elsewhere, Atalanta are enjoying the novelty of a trip to the Champions League knockout phase in their maiden UCL campaign and they look destined for a quarter-final berth after a thrilling 4-1 home win against a lackluster Valencia. Already 4-0 up by the hour mark through two Hans Hateboer strikes as well as one each from Josip Ilicic and Remo Freuler, the latter’s goal one that will dominate the highlights reel of Champions League action when the quarter-final draw is made, did for Valencia, who grabbed what looks extremely likely to be a consolation in the latter stages, Albert Celades’ side looking like they are playing for pride already.
Round of 16 Results:
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Paris St. Germain
Atalanta 4-1 Valencia
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 RB Leipzig