Liverpool’s bid to retain the UEFA Champions League was dealt a massive blow on Tuesday as Atletico Madrid defeated the defending champions 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in the first leg of their second-round encounter.
Midfielder Saul Niguez scored the game’s solitary goal in the fourth minute. The Spanish midfielder turned sharply to fire home after a corner came off the boot of Fabinho.
Atletico, who have been on a poor run of form, harried and hassled throughout, limiting Liverpool to just two clear chances and no shots on target, only the second time in their 251 games under manager Jurgen Klopp in all competitions.
Liverpool had to wait until the 53rd minute for their first opening – Mohamed Salah’s stooping header drifting comfortably wide.
Jordan Henderson hooked shot just missed Jan Oblak’s far post, which was The Reds second and last chance on goal.
Klopp replaced Sadio Mane and Salah with Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but neither made an impact.
The return leg is at Anfield on 11 March.
Elsewhere, Borrusia Dortmund also defeated Paris Saint Germain 2-1 in the first leg of their second-round fixture at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.
Erling Braut Haaland continued his remarkable scoring form this season as he scored the two goals for the home team.
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Although the youngster was quiet for much of the first half as he was restricted to a couple of half-chances, he was clearly anticipating opportunities and did that in the 69th minute when the ball fell loose in the penalty box.
Neymar briefly drew the visitors level in the 75th minute, slotting in a low Kylian Mbappe cross on his return following four matches out with a rib injury.
But the 19-year-old Haaland was not to be outdone. The Norwegian striker fired a brute of a shot coming after a gem of a first touch, rising from the moment it left his boot and flashing past keeper Keylor Navas’ dive to his right.
The German side take a narrow lead to take to the Parc des Princes for the second leg on 11 March.