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Atletico Madrid relishes capacity to suffer after Anfield triumph

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone celebrates after Marcos Llorente scored his side’s second goal of the game during a second leg, round of 16, Champions League soccer match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

AP

Atletico Madrid forward Marcos Llorente sounded an alarm to the rest of the UEFA Champions League after his side flustered reigning champs Liverpool to advance to the quarterfinals.
“We don’t have any limits to how much we can go through and suffer,” Llorente said. “We defended with our lives and when we all pull in the same direction, these things can happen.”

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Now, sure, Liverpool was dominant and a victim of its own poor finishing on the day, but Diego Simeone’s Atleti had earned its reputation as a stingy side well before Wednesday’s 3-2 extra-time win at Anfield.

“Atletico knew how to suffer, endure, and dethrone the current European champion,” Simeone said after the win, via Marca. “The Rojiblancos will be in the Champions League quarterfinals.”

That’s nothing new; Atleti has been to two UCL finals under Simeone, losing both to crosstown rivals Real Madrid. The manager led the club to two Europa League titles, too.

Simeone lauded goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who was sensational in a nine-save performance.

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“He is as important as the others, like Savic, Lodi, Felipe, Joao Félix,” he said. “But we have a goalkeeper who is the best in the world just as Barcelona has Messi.”

Wow. We get the point, but wow.

Former Spurs defender Kieran Trippier explained why Atleti is able to defend so resolutely in a televised interview on TBS after the win.

“The way we play is the way we train,” Trippier said. "[Simeone is] like this on the touchline in training. It’s a joy to learn from him every day and work with him. I knew I needed a change and when a club like Atletico Madrid come in for you, you can’t say no. I’m learning new things every day.”