The English league leaders visit Wanda Metropolitano in their quest to extend their fine run of form and win the competition for the second consecutive time. Liverpool are running hot at the moment, unbeaten in the league and also in the Champions League since their Matchday 1 loss to Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.
On the other hand Atletico Madrid have their task cut out, as they are placed fourth in the league, unable to score goals and put together a string of good performances, Los Rojiblancos will have to play out of their skin if they've to win this fixture and progress to the quarters.
Liverpool without doubt enter this fixture as favorites to progress but counting Diego Simeone's outfit would be a mistake as they have shown time and again that on their day they can take the best of the best out of equation.
Here is the combined XI for this UCL Round of 16 clash between two European heavyweights.
1. Goalkeeper : Jan Oblak
The toughest choice to make in this starting XI was that of choosing the goalkeeper. On one side we have the Brazilian Alisson Becker who has been in scintillating form ever since he joined Liverpool in the summer of 2018 and on the other side we have Slovenian Jan Oblak who has been one of the finest modern day goal keepers the world has ever seen.
With Atletico Madrid not playing at a level expected of them, Jan Oblak has been instrumental in keeping them in the race to finish third having conceded 17 goals which is second best in La Liga behind only Real Madrid who have shipped 16, whilst also maintaining an impressive 11 clean sheets.
2. Left Back : Andy Robertson
Probably the best left-back in the world at the moment, the Scottish international has only gone from strength to strength since his €9million from Hull City to Liverpool in 2017. Last season he was involved in 13 goals, a tally which he might better this season considering has already been involved in 8 goals with three full months of competitive football left.
3. Center-Back : Virgil van Dijk
Undoubtedly the best center-back in the world for the second consecutive season, the Dutchman has only improved from what was a fantastic 2018-19 which saw him lift the Champions League, finish second in the Premier League, win the award for the “Best Player in Europe” and win “PFA Player’s Player of the Year ”.
With Van Dijk at the back Liverpool have conceded only one goal in their last 10 games and 23 in total this season.
4. Center-Back : Felipe
The Brazilian moved from FC Porto to Atletico for a fee of €20 million, which seemed like a bit too much for a 30-year-old defender having only 3 years of top flight experience in Europe and no experience of playing in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
Felipe Augusto de Almeida Monteiro, simply known as Felipe has proved all the doubters wrong with his solid performances at the back alongside Jose Giminez. In a campaign marred largely by inconsistency for Atletico Madrid, Felipe has been one of the few bright lights this campaign.
5. Right-Back : Trent Alexander-Arnold
The Liverpool academy product at just 21 has redefined the role of a modern-day full back along with his team mate and fellow full-back Andy Robertson. The Englishman has been involved in 13 goals this season, which is the most by any full-back and seems to be well on course to better his tally of 17 goal contribution from last season.
Hailed as a future Ballon d’Or winner by the Brazilian great Cafu, Trent Alexander-Arnold is without doubt the best right-back in the world right now and gets nod ahead of Kieran Trippier
6. Defensive Midfielder : Jordan Henderson
Captain of Liverpool and the English national team, Jordan Henderson’s performances this season have put him in the contention for winning the Premier League player of the year. His solid performances in the middle of the park has enabled the Merseyside club to open up 25 points at the top of the league in England.
With the Premier League more or less in the kitty, the captain and his team mates will be motivated to win their second consecutive Champions League and complete a historic treble.
7. Center Midfield : Saul Niguez
The former Real Madrid youngster has matured into one of the best midfielders in the world and has become a regular starter for both club and country in recent years. The Spaniard has an uncanny ability to contribute towards both ends of the pitch and has developed into one of the most complete midfielders under Diego Simeone who is not afraid to put in tackles and also comes up with a goal contribution every now and then.
8. Center Midfield : Georginio Wijnaldum
Henderson’s partner in the midfield, Georginio Wijnaldum is one of the most under rated players in the Liverpool squad. Quietly going about his business like he always does, Wijnaldum has been one of the most consistent players for Liverpool since his move from Newcastle United back in 2015.
The Dutchman brings energy and dynamism to Klopp’s side with his tireless box to box running.
9. Left-Wing : Sadio Mane
Tricky, pacey and a constant goal threat, Sadio Mane is a complete winger .The Senegalese winger has been hailed as the most important player in Klopp’s line up as his work rate down the left wing crucial to Liverpool’s functioning.
Mane has been directly involved in 23 goals in 33 games this season and reached the 100 goals mark in Premier League by scoring the winner in Liverpool’s win over Norwich on Saturday.
10. Right-Wing : Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian king has had to deal with some criticism this season and has had to watch Sadio Mane hog some of his spotlight, but that has not stopped Mohamed Salah from doing what he does the best, that is score goals.
This season Salah has scored 18 goals and assisted seven across all competition while also being in race to win his third consecutive Premier League Golden Boot. In his last 11 games Salah has contributed 11 goals and will be itching to add to his tally against the Madrid outfit.
11. Striker : Roberto Firmino
The Brazilian completes Liverpool’s attacking trio up front. The most under rated player of the three, Firmino is the oil to Liverpool’s win machine. Firmino has a uncanny ability to pop up with winning goals every now and then, which is highlighted by the goals he scored in the Club World Cup. Firmino is also a specialist in scoring away goals as all his goals have come away from home but has also managed to pop up with assists at home.
An easy pick considering the goal drought Atletico strikers are going through.