Champions League

Atletico Madrid 2-3 Liverpool: Player ratings as Mohamed Salah double wins thriller

By Sean Walsh
Liverpool were made to work for the win
Liverpool were made to work for the win / Sonia Canada/GettyImages
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Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead but willed their way to a 3-2 win away at 10-man Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Group B on Tuesday night.

Mohamed Salah grabbed a brace as his late Ballon d'Or push continued, while Antoine Griezmann also bagged two but saw red for a dangerous challenge in the second half.

Salah continued his remarkable run of form with a well-taken goal after just eight minutes. The Egyptian cut inside past three Atletico defenders, drilled a shot towards goal, and Geoffrey Kondogbia deflected the ball past the helpless Jan Oblak.

Naby Keita doubled the lead just five minutes later with a brilliant volley from the edge of the Atletico area after Felipe failed to clear a routine cross.

But the hosts pulled one back just before the 20-minute mark. An Atletico corner broke to Koke on the edge of the Liverpool area, and his shot was deflected in by Antoine Griezmann, even though Thomas Lemar was in an offside position and prevented Joel Matip from blocking it.

The former Barcelona man had a great chance to equalise soon after when he was put through one-on-one with Alisson by Kieran Trippier, but the Brazilian stood tall to deny him.

But Griezmann didn't have to wait too long to eventually find the leveller. Joao Felix moved into the channels and drew the attention of Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold, while his strike partner moved into the vacated space with the ball and found the far corner.

Felix and Lemar both had chances to completely turn the game around before the break, but Alisson was on hand to deny them both.

Oblak was at full stretch to keep out a Sadio Mane header at the start of the second half, before Alisson came to Liverpool's rescue to deny Yannick Carrasco from close range.

But as Atletico were in the ascendancy, Griezmann received a red card for a high challenge on Roberto Firmino, booting the Brazilian square in the face while trying to control the ball.

Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson both went close for Liverpool as they looked to make use of their one-man advantage, and the Reds were awarded a penalty when Mario Hermoso ploughed into Diogo Jota.

Salah stepped up and sent Oblak the wrong way to give the away side the lead again, but before long Atletico thought they had a penalty of their own when Jota tripped Jose Gimenez.

However, after a lengthy VAR check, the referee overturned his decision and decreed that there was not enough contact for the Uruguayan to be awarded a spot kick.

Angel Correa had half a sight of goal deep into injury time, but couldn't keep his shot down and Liverpool hung on.


ATLETICO MADRID PLAYER RATINGS

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Jan Oblak
Oblak was in top form / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Jan Oblak (GK) - 7/10 - Made some good saves and little he could do about the goals.

Felipe (CB) - 4/10 - Sliced a pretty straightforward clearance to Keita and made the night an uphill battle.

Geoffrey Kondogbia (CB) - 4/10 - Should have done more to get a clean block on Salah's shot for the opener. Substituted at the break.

Mario Hermoso (CB) - 5/10 - In the wars aplenty and was Atletico's most reliable defender for the most part, until he clattered into Jota for no reason.


2. Wing-backs & midfielders

Koke, Roberto Firmino
Koke made Atletico tick / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Kieran Trippier (RWB) - 6/10 - Pretty useful at both ends and became an out-and-out winger once reduced to 10 men.

Thomas Lemar (CM) - 6/10 - Played with real intensity without contributing too much on the ball.

Koke (CM) - 7/10 - Dictated play brilliantly, even if his assist was a bit unorthodox.

Rodrigo de Paul (CM) - 5/10 - Tried to dribble his way out of trouble too often.

Yannick Carrasco (LM) - 7/10 - A real spark of creativity, either through his passing, dribbling or movement.


3. Forwards

Antoine Griezmann, Daniel Siebert
A mixed night for Griezmann / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Joao Felix (CF) - 7/10 - A performance that makes you realise exactly why Atletico are persisting with him.

Antoine Griezmann (CF) - 7/10 - Was pretty much a flawless performance up until he received a red card. Which is rather unfortunate but, you know, the game is the game.


4. Substitutes

Jose Gimenez (CB) - 6/10 - As he didn't give away a penalty like Hermoso, takes the title as Atletico's most reliable defender.

Luis Suarez (CF) - 4/10

Angel Correa (CF) - 5/10

Renan Lodi (LB) - 5/10

Marcos Llorente (CM) - 4/10


LIVERPOOL PLAYER RATINGS

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Alisson, Thomas Lemar
Alisson made a number of stops / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Alisson (GK) - 7/10 - He and Oblak were having a save-off to crown the best goalkeeper in the world.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - 5/10 - Atletico targeted his side on several occasions and successfully pulled him apart for the equaliser.

Joel Matip (CB) - 4/10 - Ditto, though you'd have backed the experienced Matip to not let that happen.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - 5/10 - Could see the rustiness evident after his knee injury.

Andy Robertson (LB) - 6/10 - The best of a bad bunch for Liverpool at the back.


6. Midfielders

Naby Keita
Keita scored a sublime goal / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 5/10 - Didn't do too much to help Liverpool get a grip in the game.

James Milner (CM) - 5/10 - Looked off the pace and you could see his lack of dynamism compared to the younger Atletico midfield.

Naby Keita (CM) - 6/10 - Scored a wonderful volley (again) but did little else and made way for Fabinho at half-time.


7. Forwards

Mohamed Salah
Salah grabbed a brace / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Mohamed Salah (RW) - 8/10 - Another top night for a player who is surely the best in the world right now.

Roberto Firmino (CF) - 5/10 - Was more useful for his pressing late in the game than for being a goal threat.

Sadio Mane (LW) - 5/10 - Closest he came to scoring was from a corner. Contributed little in the attacking third from open play.


8. Substitutes

Fabinho (DM) - 6/10 - Brought some control to the midfield. Well, more than Milner did anyway.

Diogo Jota (LW) - 6/10 - Came on, won a penalty, nearly gave away a penalty.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) - 7/10 - Brought some much-needed energy to Liverpool when they sorely needed it.

Joe Gomez (RB) - N/A

Neco Williams (RW) - N/A


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