Marcos Llorente came off the bench to score extra-time two goals and dramatically eliminate Liverpool from the UEFA Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday evening.
The Reds’ started well wiped out their visitors’ advantage at the end of the first-half as Georginio Wijnaldum headed home a brilliant effort into the bottom corner.
Jurgen Klopp’s men created by far the better chances throughout the game but it ended level after 90 minutes and headed into extra-time.
Roberto Firmino put the Reds ahead on aggregate just four minutes into extra-time as he converted a rebound off of the post for his first goal at Anfield.
Just as it looked as though Liverpool were going through, Llorente got Atleti on the scoresheet three minutes later as he took advantage of a howler from Adrian to score into the far corner.
The midfielder then got another as he netted another excellent strike from the edge of the area. Alvaro Morata got in on the act late on as he beat fellow Spaniard Adrian one-on-one to seal Atletico’s place in the quarter-finals.
Oblak holds Liverpool as was to be expected considering their first-half deficit, Liverpool started on the front foot. Wijnaldum forced Jan Oblak into the first save of the match, before the Atleti stopper also reacted well to Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fizzing strike.
It was pretty much the Slovenian against the rest of the Liverpool side as he at first pawed away a great effort from Sadio Mane.
He then produced a wonderful stop as he reacted brilliantly to a close range effort from Firmino that looked destined for the back of the net.
Wijnaldum breaks Atletico resistance just as he did in the semi-final against Barcelona last season, Wijnaldum stepped up once again. Latching onto the end of a brilliant cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold, he headed it low into the bottom corner, giving the Reds what seemed like a priceless lead.
Following their goal and half-time, Atletico’s goal was pretty much under-siege throughout the majority of the second-half. Oxlade-Chamberlain continued to threaten and again forced a brilliant, low stop out of Oblak.
Liverpool waste opportunities
The Slovenian stopper continued to be the visitors’ best player and produced a collection of brilliant saves. He punched away Firmino’s first-time effort as Liverpool continued to push.
Andrew Robertson should really have put Liverpool in firm control of the tie as Mo Salah’s shot looped up perfectly with Oblak flat-footed.
Just as he stooped low to nod the ball in the box, former Tottenham man Kieran Trippier put in some excellent defensive work, forcing the left-back to thunder his header onto the bar.
Chances continued to come and go for the European champions. Robertson put another effort high over the bar before Mane attempted an audacious bicycle kick that flew just off-target. It looked as though those missed chances came back to bite Liverpool as Saul nodded in a late free-kick in the final seconds only to be flagged offside.
Firmino finally gets their second but Llorente shocks Anfield Klopp’s troops and did not have to wait too long into extra-time to edge ahead on aggregate though.
Firmino was so unfortunate to head a great effort onto the post but the ball fell perfectly back to him, with the Brazilian staying cool to tuck into the far corner.
That advantage evaporated almost instantly though following a huge error from Adrian. The Spaniard’s horrendous kick was picked off by Joao Felix, who fed substitute Marcos Llorente.
On the edge of the box, the midfielder showed immense composure to curl the ball into the far corner and repeated that feat towards the end of the first-period of extra-time as he all-but sealed Atletico’s progression.
Receiving the ball from Alvaro Morata, he took on the Liverpool defence before once again finding the bottom-left corner with an excellent guided finish.