Liverpool’s defeat of Atletico Madrid underlines why they can challenge for what every fan craves

Liverpool celebrate scoring during their defeat of Atletico Madrid. Picture: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images Liverpool celebrate scoring during their defeat of Atletico Madrid. Picture: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
Liverpool celebrate scoring during their defeat of Atletico Madrid. Picture: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images
The Reds needed to show resolve and character against the La Liga champions - two things required from any team with designs on winning silverware.

Stop and take a breather. Put the kettle on. Pour something stiffer if that's what might help you settle down.

Who cares if it's a school night? You've just watched a pulsating Champions League clash that will go down with some of the all-time Liverpool classics.

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Joining the pantheon of greats

The Reds have had some thrilling European nights over the years. Their 3-2 win at Atletico Madrid joined the pantheon of games such as St Etienne, Olympiacos, AC Milan, Barcelona and Tottenham.

This clash might have only been a group game but it had the palpable atmosphere and the drama that made it feel like a semi-final second leg.

There was everything you could have asked for. Goals, comebacks, twists and turns, penalty decisions, a red card and a refusal of a handshake from one manager.

Liverpool's display was a stark contrast to their 5-0 demolition of Watford last weekend.

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Let's be frank, it was always going to be against the reigning La Liga champions who are as belligerent and pugnacious as they come.

No disrespect to Watford but Atletico are in a whole different stratosphere.

Diego Simeone might have his detractors but no-one can criticise his managerial prowess. His wily antics ensure there is a crackling and hostile atmosphere at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Still, Jurgen Klopp and his troops came through the storm to maintain their perfect Champions League Group B record and now need just a point to reach the next stage of the competition.

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A clear ambition

By the Liverpool boss’ own admission, his side weren’t at their zenith but insisted: “The dirty three points are very often the most important, and they were dirty tonight of course.”

Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s victory over Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty ImagesJurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s victory over Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s victory over Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty Images | Getty Images

He's right, you know. It's that robustness, resolve and steeliness required to be successful.

And if there was anyone who needed convincing the Reds can challenge on two fronts again this season, surely they’ve now been won over.

Write-off last term. The defensive crisis was a major factor in why Liverpool's Premier League title defence was so meek. Games behind closed doors also played their part.

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The Reds’ start to this campaign, however, has potent whiffs of 2018-19.

That was Klopp's most successful season in the Anfield hot seat. The Champions League was yielded and Liverpool finished a point behind Manchester City in an enthralling title race.

From that squad, every key player bar Gini Wijnaldum remains. Mo Salah is now the best player in the world.

The expectation from inside the Reds camp is to push for those two major and prestigious pieces of silverware again.

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Judging by what we've seen so far, why shouldn't they have such ambitions?

Liverpool have gone to the most battle-hardened side in Europe and picked up three points.

Mo Salah celebrates his match-winner against Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty ImagesMo Salah celebrates his match-winner against Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty Images
Mo Salah celebrates his match-winner against Atletico Madrid. Picture: Angel Martinez/Getty Images | Getty Images

In the league, they've yet to taste defeat, with two of their three draws coming against their main title rivals City and Chelsea.

You suspect there still might be more to come, too.

Fears allayed

Some doubted whether the Reds could again thrust themselves back into such a position given their largely dormant summer transfer window.

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As City spent £100 million on Jack Grealish, Chelsea splashed out £97.5 million on Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United paid more than £100 million for Jadon Sancho, Raphael Verane and Cristiano Ronaldo, sections of supporters feared Liverpool wouldn’t be able to compete.

Any of those fears have well and truly been allayed, though. Klopp's lack of activity is proving just fine so far. More than fine, in fact.

A two-pronged attack simply has to be the aim. That’s not been achieved since 1984.

How the fans of today would love to toast to what their parents and grandparents got to celebrate.

If yielded, it’d make Klopp one of Liverpool’s undisputed greatest boss behind Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

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