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Valencia CF-Atlético Madrid: Reinforcements on the way

Simeone will be delighted to have three previously-unavailable players return to the squad against Valencia.

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid travel to Mestalla to play Valencia on Sunday, and LaLiga’s defending champions should be inspired to enter the November international break on a high following the midweek bludgeoning at Liverpool.

“It will be a long game, with a lot of work and a lot of effort from both sides,” Diego Simeone said Saturday. “I imagine a strong start from Valencia. We played with one less player for almost 60 minutes the other day...they will look for ways to tire us during the game.”

The good news on this front for Simeone is that Atlético (6-4-1, 22 points) will welcome back three players who were unavailable for Wednesday night’s Anfield humbling. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Antoine Griezmann, and Stefan Savić have all been named to Sunday’s squad — with the latter two likely to start.

“In Liverpool, in the second half, the team was able to defend itself with 10 players (following Felipe’s red card), and we had the opportunity from Héctor Herrera,” Simeone said about taking positives from the 2-0 defeat. That collective effort and work in the face of difficulty will make us grow.”

If Simeone’s men triumph against Valencia (4-4-4, 16 points), they are guaranteed to enter the November break no lower than fourth — after which, Thomas Lemar and Marcos Llorente are expected to return from injury.

Valencia CF v Villarreal CF - LaLiga Santander
Jose Bordalas, coach of Valencia CF reacts during the LaLiga Santander match between Valencia CF and Villarreal CF at Estadio Mestalla on October 30, 2021 in Valencia, Spain.
Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

A José Bordalás side has never scored a goal against Simeone’s Atlético, and Cholo’s crew has not lost to Valencia in 13 tries. The champs won both games against this opponent last year, and all-time, Atleti have won 22 of their 82 league meetings with los Che at their 98-year-old Mestalla stadium.

“We are facing a Valencia team that will play very similarly as they did in the (2-0 win) against Villarreal, very competitive,” Simeone said. “We already know the coach (well), who he is. He generates an intensity in his players, with very good game management. And with the good players he has, Valencia are beginning to achieve the consistency they’re looking for.”

Date Nov. 7, 2021

Location Mestalla, Valencia

Kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. GMT, 11:15 a.m. EST, 8:15 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), Movistar LaLiga 1 (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom)