Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool: Diego Simeone masterclass earns Atleti first-leg victory

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Liverpool slumped to a 1-0 defeat away at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

Saul Niguez scored an early goal for the Spanish side, who frustrated the reigning European champions at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Liverpool failed to have a single shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes and will now need to beat Diego Simeone's side at Anfield on March 11 in order to progress to the quarter-finals.

The hosts started strongly and took the lead inside the opening five minutes through Saul, who tapped in from close range after the ball deflected fortuitously into his path off Fabinho.

Diego Simeone’s side clearly set out to come out the traps flying and their plan worked to perfection.

After a tough opening 10 minutes, though, the Reds eventually found their feet and settled down.

Watch Saul's goal here...

However, Atletico went close to making it 2-0 midway through the half when Alvaro Morata found himself through on goal.

Alisson Becker’s smart save prevented the former Chelsea striker from doubling Atleti’s advantage.

At the opposite end of the pitch, Mohamed Salah had the ball in the back of the net but the goal was correctly ruled out because Roberto Firmino was in an offside position.

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Salah then had a shot deflected over as Liverpool started to dominate possession.

Creating clear-cut opportunities against Simone’s side has never been easy, though, and Liverpool went into the break a goal down.

Klopp withdrew Sadio Mane, who only recently returned from injury and was on a yellow card, and sent on Divock Origi at the start of the second half.

But it was Salah who had the best chance to pull a goal back at the start of the second half.

Joe Gomez's excellent pass picked out the unmarked Egyptian forward, whose header went narrowly wide.

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Liverpool still hadn't had a shot on target after an hour, with Simeone's men frustrating their opponents in the final third of the pitch.

Jordan Henderson went close to equalising with 20 minutes left on the clock but the Liverpool captain's effort went wide.

Liverpool huffed and puffed but failed to even register a single shot on target. That's the first time that's happened for the Reds since October 2018.

This was a Simeone masterclass - but you suspect the second leg back at Anfield will be very different.

As we've seen on plenty of occasions in the past, Liverpool are a different animal on big European nights at their home stadium.

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