It is pouring rain at Anfield.
João Félix picks out Diego Costa with a long through ball inside the first 15 seconds. Virgil Van Dijk plays Costa onside, but the big man hits the shot wide. Joe Gomez might have gotten a touch. A few minutes later, Trent Alexander-Arnold wakes up Atlético Madrid’s defense with a rattling cross — but Jan Oblak saves Georginio Wijnaldum’s header.
The plans so far seem clear — Liverpool want to attack Atlético’s left flank, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has already sprinted beyond Renan Lodi once. Atlético’s idea is to have Félix and/or Ángel Correa ping lengthy passes into space beyond Liverpool’s high line.
POSSESSION UPDATE 70 percent, Liverpool.
Not a fan of conceding corners. Felipe and Lodi both go up to meet an Andy Robertson inswinger, but it pinballs off both defenders before going out.
Liverpool have two shots on target so far — two more than in the first leg, for those keeping track. Oblak parried away an Oxlade-Chamberlain chance on the stroke of 15 minutes, in addition to his earlier stop on Wijnaldum.
Atlético’s structure remains very sound. Liverpool have gotten closer than in the first leg but have been forced into lateral passing more often than not.
TOTAL PASSES UPDATE 239-113, Liverpool.
Felipe and Stefan Savić have been marvelous. Lodi, less so. The touch is heavier and it has been easier to get around him. Example — Lodi falls over in defense, Mo Salah wins the ball and sets up Sadio Mané for a stinging shot. Save, Oblak.
Atlético are in the midst of a two-minute possession spell. Last year at Juventus, Atleti barely managed two seconds of continuous possession.
Roberto Firmino slips behind Savić in 36 minutes and tries to end his year-long Anfield goal drought...but there’s Oblak again to slap it away. A sense of “Atlético really need to get to halftime” creeps in. The structure is loosening.
Atleti cannot make it to halftime. Wijnaldum scores on 43 minutes. Not one rojiblanco picks him up eight yards out — Savić got tangled up with Mané — and the Dutchman buries a free header. It’s 1-1 on aggregate.
CLEARANCES UPDATE Felipe and Savić combined for 16 in the first half.
It’s not getting better! Salah is all over the place and Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to find space around the box. This match is following a familiar, haunting script — Atlético can’t even get the ball beyond the halfway line at this time. There is no longer a plan, other than “defend.”
Marcos Llorente replaces Costa on 56 minutes. Costa had as many skirmishes with Liverpool goalkeeper Adrián as he had shot attempts. He won five aerial duels, at least. Félix and Ángel Correa up top means one of them might have to produce something brilliant to score.
Right on 60 minutes, Félix finds himself in space to hit a rolling shot that Adrián fumbles but saves in the end. Correa tries to follow up but hits the Spaniard in the chest.
PASSING ACCURACY UPDATE Lodi has completed 28 percent of his 18 passes.
Big, big let-off for Atlético on 67 minutes. A missed foul creates a counterattacking opportunity for Liverpool, Salah picks out Robertson in the box and he smashes a header off the crossbar. Two minutes later, Alexander-Arnold forces Oblak into a diving save. Simeone’s men are hanging on by the skin of their red and white teeth.
This is one of the best games Oblak has played in sometime.
Neither Yannick Carrasco nor Álvaro Morata warming up. Surely Simeone isn’t planning for extra time?
SHOTS UPDATE 20-6, Liverpool.
A tad more attacking impetus now as Saúl blazes wide. Llorente’s speed from the right-hand side has offered some respite to Atlético’s defenders.
Jürgen Klopp lifts the dangerous Oxlade-Chamberlain for James Milner on 81 minutes. Milner gets the better of Thomas and Mané hits an errant bicycle kick following a headed pass from Wijnaldum.
Lodi swings a free kick into the box in the dying seconds, Saúl scores to hand Atlético the tie...buuuuut he’s ruled offside. Really thought he’d won it with the game’s final touch.
Instead, we’re off to extra time.
HISTORY 101 This is the first European tie involving Atlético to head to extra time since 2016 — when Atleti beat PSV Eindhoven on penalties.
Šime Vrsaljko is Simeone’s second substitution. He replaces Kieran Trippier, still on the way back from injury as his form would indicate and probably not ready to play 120 minutes.
Remember Firmino’s long goal drought on Merseyside? Well, it’s over. The Brazilian hits the post on 94 minutes, but a kind rebound bounces back to him. Atlético must score now, and Saúl’s offside header in second half stoppage time likely was the chance to do so...
...except it wasn’t! Llorente scores the away goal at 96:05! Félix slides Adrián’s mishit ball through to Llorente, who hits a low stinger into the net. It’s 2-1 and Atlético are through as it stands.
But wait, the lad’s gone and done it again!!! Morata — who replaced Félix on 103 minutes — holds up the ball and switches play to the unmarked Llorente to his left. This time, Marcos drives his shot in between Adrián and the near post for his second goal in 10 minutes. Liverpool need two now, with a second half of extra time to come.
Simeone has seen enough — he throws on José Giménez(!) for Correa while Klopp empties his clip as Fabinho, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino enter the match. But the European and world champions’ frustration only grows as Atlético somehow dig in even further.
Morata seals it in the 121st minute, as fellow academy kid Llorente tees him up for a clear run at the beleaguered Adrián. Wild celebrations ensue.
Game, set, match. Atlético are into the quarterfinals as the first team in 18 months to beat Liverpool on Merseyside. What a night.