Nobody will want to be drawn against Atletico Madrid after a 3-2 victory sent holders Liverpool crashing out of the Champions League.
Before we go on, we ought to remember that these are the very people who willingly employ Diego Costa. They just do not care.
Jurgen Klopp lambasted their style of play, as Andy Robertson had done after the first leg.
That will make Atleti’s victory all their sweeter, those kind of comments only fuelling the siege mentality that seems to be so deeply embedded in their psyche.
Add that to the fact that many expected them to crumble at Anfield and it’s understandable that their extra-time goals prompted such ecstatic scenes.
Diego Simeone embarked on a Mourinho-esque sprint down the touchline after Alvaro Morata’s goal, the strike which confirmed beyond doubt that Atletico would be in the hat for the quarter-finals.
The Spanish striker was mobbed by his teammates too, even the substitutes, as he celebrated in front of the away end.
Questions were asked about why around 3,000 supporters were allowed to travel from Madrid, a city which is currently on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet once they had arrived, they produced some truly special scenes as they rejoiced with their heroes, some of which were captured on camera:
There were no doubt personal narratives at play, too. Morata flopped in English football during his spell with Chelsea and he’ll have felt he had something to prove.
Former Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier also looked delighted to have avenged, albeit in a small way, his disappointment from last year’s final.
To their credit, the Liverpool fans can still be heard singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in the background.
So Anfield may not have put on one of its famous European nights under the lights, but the images of last night were still unforgettable for the neutral.
Only the Champions League is capable of providing such magical moments and that’s why the 2019 champions’ untimely departure will still hurt, even if it is soon to be offset by their first domestic title in 30 years.
- Jan Oblak’s highlights vs Liverpool were superb
- Jurgen Klopp shouts at fans for putting their hands out
- Diego Costa angers journalists by coughing in mixed zone