Steve Nicol believes Liverpool's backline was a mess, and that they were lucky to have a VAR Review vs. Atletico Madrid. (1:42).
MADRID -- Mohamed Salah is the current world's most popular football player. Sometimes players reach a point where they are so good that they can catch every break and take advantage of any luck that comes their way. Then again, there are others like Antoine Griezmann who just can't seem to shake that feeling of nothing going right.
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team beat Atletico Madrid 3-2 in the Champions League to move five points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top. This was a great example of the best of football's premier competition, and it also showed that the game can survive without a breakaway Super League. It was also the story of two strikers, two world-renowned forwards, Salah and Griezmann, who are enjoying and enduring life at different ends of the spectrum.
Salah increased his season's total to 12 goals in 11 Liverpool games by scoring on either side of Naby's 20-yard volley to increase his team's record of 100% in Group B. His first goal, a left-foot shot from the Atletico penalty box's edge after a dribble in the area, was credited to Salah. It appeared to have hit James Milner and Atletico defender Geoffrey Kondogbia as it entered the net.
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Salah scored in the Estadio Metropolitano and became the first Liverpool player ever to score in nine consecutive matches for the club. This feat was achieved by Roger Hunt, Luis Suarez (Luis Suarez), Ian Rush, Roger Hunt and Luis Suarez. Only Robert Lewandowski (37) has scored fewer goals than Salah since he moved to Liverpool in 2017 from AS Roma. He became Liverpool's top scorer in Madrid, surpassing Steven Gerrard.
Salah is simply a magnificent footballer who is enjoying the best time of his career. Every touch he makes seems to end in the goal line or to the goal of one of his teammates.
Griezmann was one of those players. He scored 133 goals in 254 matches during his first stint at Atletico and had 50 assists. However, his two-year stay at Barcelona was a disappointing experience. The France international did not gel well with Lionel Messi.
Griezmann scored 35 goals and provided 17 assists in 102 Barca appearances, but he never lived up to the hype and returned to Atleti over the summer on loan. He was required to sign for 34 million by his old club at the end of the season to rekindle his career.
It would have been hard to bear to be booed at home by his fans in his first game back. The 30-year-old has yet to score or assist in LaLiga since joining Diego Simeone's side. Griezmann scored against AC Milan in a 2-1 victory at the San Siro, but he still waited for his first goal on home soil.
However, against Liverpool, in a blistering first-half of counterattacking by both teams, it seemed as though Griezmann was back.
After Liverpool had taken a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes through Salah, Keita and Salah, Griezmann brought Atletico down by deflecting Koke’s shot from 15 yards. It took 20 minutes for Griezmann to finish the job. After a 28-minute counter, Griezmann continued to lead his team's attack forays. Alisson stopped Griezmann's shot.
On 34 minutes, Griezmann scored another goal with another fine finish. He received Joao Felix’s pass and took a touch before setting up a left-foot shot that passed Alisson just outside the penalty box. Griezmann celebrated like he was being welcomed back to the Atleti fold by his fans, who felt betrayed by his 2019 move to Camp Nou. It was his breakthrough night.
In Liverpool's Champions League win over Atletico Madrid, Tuesday, Mohamed Salah scored for the ninth match in succession, a club record. Getty
Eight minutes into the second period, Griezmann's dream became a nightmare. Referee Daniel Siebert gave Griezmann a red card for a high challenge on Roberto Firmino that caught the Liverpool forward on his head with his studs. Although it appeared harsh, replays revealed that it was a dangerous challenge. Griezmann was eventually sent off and became the first player to score twice in Champions League history.
Klopp stated, "The red card was unlucky but it's a red card." Klopp said, "A foot in your face. It's possible.
Some men have all the luck while others don't. Griezmann must be wondering where Griezmann will get his next big break. He was just beginning to make progress and show the player he once was, when misfortune struck again.
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Salah doesn't have to worry about such things. Salah scored the goal after Mario Hermoso, Atletico's defender, conceded a penalty for a poor challenge on Diogo Jonta on 75 minutes. Atletico saw a penalty decision against them overturned six minutes later by VAR.
Simeone was furious at Klopp's decisions and stormed off at end. Klopp waved sarcastically as his opponent headed down the tunnel.
Klopp stated, "We don’t like it but yes, the position is clear." "I would like to shake his hand. I was not as cool as his reaction.
"The next time we meet, we will shake hands. It's nothing. It was obvious that he was angry with me, but not with the game. There's nothing else."
Liverpool and Salah managed to smile all the way to the airport. It was another memorable night for Griezmann and Atletico.