Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool final score: Three things we learned as Salah, VAR star
Mohamed Salah scored twice and Liverpool overcame a blown lead with a little help from Video Assistant Referee in a 3-2 win over 10-man Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday.
The win gives Liverpool a five-point lead over its two closest group chasers, meaning the Reds would have to combust in order to miss the knockout rounds with a 3-0-0 record at the midpoint.
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The controversial call came after Antoine Griezmann, who scored both of Atleti’s goals, was sent off and Liverpool’s Diogo Jota soon won a penalty that Salah converted to put the Reds up 3-2.
Jota then took down a man in the box and VAR used a long review to overrule the call, which might’ve been soft but surely could not have been deemed a clear and obvious error.
Three things we learned from Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool
1. Liverpool loses focus, almost pays: The Reds were the better team on the day even before Griezmann’s sending-off, but a quarter-hour’s lull nearly cost them in a big, big way. Up 2-0 on goals from Naby Keita and Salah, Griezmann scored twice in 14 minutes as Atleti seized momentum to arrive at half level at 2.
The defense fell asleep after Thomas Lamar cooked Naby Keita off a short corner and Virgil van Dijk must’ve been mesmerized by Joao Felix because he went full-360 when Griezmann darted past him for 2-2.
2. But Atleti’s here to help: Antoine Griezmann had two goals in the first 45 minutes but a lot of that good was undone by his red card within seven minutes of restart. Griezmann’s raised leg to trap a long ball went right into the head of Roberto Firmino, a little unlucky but an easy-enough straight red nonetheless. Hermoso’s takedown of Diogo Jota in the box for the decisive penalty was a no-doubter of a foul. Liverpool
3. What’s clear and obvious, anyway (alternate title Jota taketh, Jota almost taketh away)? Liverpool got its go-ahead penalty on Hermoso’s poor awareness of Jota, but the Portuguese looked to have given Atleti a chance right back but the referee was sent to the pitchside monitor for a lengthy review of the contact and somehow concluded that he had made a clear and obvious error. Diego Simeone and Atleti couldn’t believe it and neither could... well... most people. It’s not supposed to matter than Atleti was down a man and at home, but that certainly added to the surprise.
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Whether he’s the best player in the world right now is up for debate but he was certainly the best player in this game, especially considering Griezmann picked up a red card.
This was really nice from Keita, however: