Atletico Madrid goes into Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 return game at Anfield believing it can dig out another of its traditionally intense and aggressive performances, despite not that much evidence over its La Liga games since the first leg.
Jürgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s record-breaking campaign as “special” and “incredible” after the unbeaten Premier League leader took another step toward the title with a 3-2 comeback victory over West Ham.
There have been plenty of doubts aired this season about whether Atletico Madrid was capable of reproducing its past glories, but on Tuesday against an all-conquering Liverpool, Diego Simeone’s side returned to its roots.
After watching Liverpool add another sweeping brush stroke to its masterpiece of a season, even manager Juergen Klopp had to concede on Saturday that he had never seen anything like the relentless, consistent excellence of his record breakers.
Paris St.-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe described Liverpool as "a machine" as it aims to clinch its first league title since 1990, and told BBC Sport he is "100 percent" happy in the French capital as he continues to be linked with Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool is fully focused on winning this week's Club World Cup ahead of its semifinal against Monterrey of Mexico but hit out at the timing of the competition and questioned FIFA's plans to expand the tournament in future.