I’m sure that most of you watched the game between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. The Spaniards knocked out the reigning Champions League winners after the extra time and the overall impression is that Diego Simeone and his men got fortunate.
That’s what many pundits said and Jurgen Klopp had a dig at his colleague after the match. Michael Owen went a step further and directly tweeted that this was not a masterclass by Simeone but pure luck.
But is that really the case? Let’s look at the main factors and we will find out.
Adrian’s Costly Errors
It’s impossible to ignore the mistakes by Adrian in the deciding period of the match. Liverpool’s goalkeeper miskicked the ball which allowed Atletico Madrid to score and go ahead in the tie with only 23 minutes or so left to play.
He didn’t cover himself in glory for the second and third goals either, although, you can hardly call them mistakes. The point is that Adrian certainly could’ve done better in this match.
Many Liverpool supporters would argue that the injury of the starting goalkeeper Alisson Becker is due to bad luck. However, I can’t agree with that.
Every top club has to face injuries. The coaching start and the board are responsible for finding adequate replacements. Adrian’s failure to cope with the pressure can be recognized as a failure by Liverpool.
Liverpool’s Lack of Cutting Edge
And yet, for all the fingers pointed at Adrian and all the talks about Liverpool’s dominance, why were the Reds only a mistake away from losing? They didn’t manage to score more than one goal in the regular time after all.
Once again, people will say this is luck but I’m not sure that’s fair to Atletico Madrid. Their defenders were brave for most of the game, Jan Oblak was phenomenal at the goal and this is what Diego Simeone’s team is all about.
Let’s not forget that the same club under the same head coach and with many of the same players has been grinding results against the best in the Champions League. Messi’s Barcelona, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Guardiola’s Bayern have often lost against Atletico Madrid in the near past.
While there’s no doubt that luck played a role in Atletico Madrid’s famous victory, it would be a step too far to call it fortunate and not give credit to the team. Diego Simeone and his men put themselves in the position to succeed and that’s exactly what they did.
Liverpool’s players failed to convert most of their chances and made some mistakes that were punished. That’s the beauty of football and especially knockout tournaments like the UEFA Champions League. Every team with enough discipline and character has a chance, even against the best club in the world.