After The Match 


Atletico Madrid-Liverpool 1-1 (0-1)        22.10.08                CL
Goals: Keane (14)        Simao (83)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Dossena, Mascherano, Alonso, Benayoun, Gerrard, Riera, Keane
Subs: Kuyt (Keane 53), Babel (Gerrard 61), Lucas (Alonso 75)
Not used: Cavalieri, Aurelio, Pennant, Darby
Yellow: Riera (38), Arbeloa (43)        Maniche (45) 
Red: None
Referee: Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark).
Attendance: 44.500


Shots on target: 5-5
Shots off target: 3-4
Blocked shots: 0-1
Fouls conceded: 13-21
Corners: 5-3
Offsides: 5-6
Possession: 50.4-49.6
Yellow: 1-2


HEADLINES "...hopefully
I'll be okay
for Sunday."

Robbie Keane

2310: Injury update on Gerrard, Alonso and Keane
2310: Benitez: This was a missed opportunity
2210: Keane happy with point in Spain
2210: Atletico late show denies Liverpool 

Injury update on Gerrard,
Alonso and Keane

Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is hopeful key trio Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Robbie Keane will be available for Sunday’s crunch showdown at Chelsea.

None of them finished last night’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Atletico Madrid, with striker Keane and midfielder Alonso both struggling with knocks, and captain Gerrard suffering from fatigue.

It will not be known until later today how serious the problems are but Benitez is keeping his fingers crossed there is nothing too serious to worry about.

“The three players have had some problems,” said Benitez, whose side are locked at the top of the Barclays Premier League with Chelsea on 20 points.

“It was a little bit of a muscle problem for Robbie. Gerrard is okay. He was really tired and Alonso has a knock on his knee.”

Keane, who had given Liverpool a 14th-minute lead at the Vicente Calderon before Simao Sabrosa earned Atletico a point with a late equaliser, was the first to be taken off when he was replaced by Dirk Kuyt just after half-time.

“We need to check with Keane. I don’t think it will be serious, but anyway we need to take care of him. He will see the doctor,” Benitez said.

“We are trying to keep players with fresh legs and 100% fit, so we were trying to protect all of them.”

When asked if he had any fitness concerns for the clash with Chelsea, Benitez answered: “I don’t know now, we will have to wait for tomorrow.”

Gerrard was the next to make way, being replaced by Ryan Babel in the 61st minute, before Alonso left the action with 15 minutes to go, Lucas taking his place.

Eight minutes after Alonso’s departure, Atletico managed to equalise, but when asked if the change had played a part in the goal, Benitez insisted he had no choice but to replace the Spain international.

“I explained the reason already, he was injured and he was asking for the substitution,” he said.

Liverpool were without the services of star striker Fernando Torres for the match, with the former Atletico hero remaining in England to continue his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Benitez admits things might have turned out differently if the prolific forward had played, but preferred not to dwell on the subject.

“Obviously he’s a special player and it could have been a different match. But he was unavailable so it doesn’t matter. He couldn’t play,” he said.

Liverpool had been good value for their half-time lead at the Vicente Calderon after limiting Atletico to just a couple of half-chances in the opening period.

However, the Rojiblancos looked a much better side after the break following the arrival of star striker Sergio Aguero, who had started the game on the bench due to concerns about his fitness.

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina admitted the young Argentinian helped turn the game around for the Spanish side.

“He is a tricky player who you notice when he is on the pitch because he causes a lot of problems and is difficult to stop,” said Reina.

“What is really important now is to get to 10 points and not slip up at home.”

Wednesday’s result leaves Atletico and Liverpool locked at the top of Group D with seven points from their opening three games, with the pair meeting again at Anfield on November 4.

Benitez: This was
a missed opportunity

By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post

Rafael Benitez rued a missed opportunity in Madrid as goalscorer Robbie Keane handed Liverpool a major injury scare.

Keane gave the visitors a 14th-minute lead in their Champions League game at Atletico Madrid last night before being forced off with a groin problem shortly after half-time.

Simao Sabrosa’s equaliser seven minutes from time then ended Liverpool’s 100% record in Group D and keeps the Anfield outfit level with the Spaniards at the top.

With Fernando Torres almost certain to miss Sunday’s Premier League showdown at Chelsea, an injury to Keane is a major concern to Benitez, who also substituted both Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso during the second half.

Keane’s injury will be assessed at Melwood this morning, and the Liverpool manager said: “A few players had some problems. They were tired, and we were trying to keep the players having fresh legs and 100% fit. We were trying to protect all of them.

“Robbie was feeling his groin, a muscle problem. I don’t think it’s anything serious but we needed to replace him.

“We need to check on him. As always the key will be the doctor, and for Torres I think it will be difficult for him to be fit for Sunday.

“Gerrard didn’t say he had a problem but I thought he was tired, and Alonso had a knock on his knee and was asking to be substituted.”

Liverpool wasted a number of chances to extend their lead before Atletico, prompted by the second-half introduction of Argentine wonder-kid Sergio Aguero, worked their way back into the game.

And Benitez said: “We had control of the game in the first half and part of the second half but I’m disappointed as we had chances to finish the game and kill the game.

“It’s a problem when you have this situation and on 83 minutes you make a mistake and they score.

“We’re still in control of the group, and if you had said to me at the start that we’d have seven points from three games then I’d have taken that.

“But after going 83 minutes with those chances and controlling the game, I have to say it feels now as though we have dropped two points.”

Benitez added: “Torres’s absence didn’t affect the game. Torres is a special and different player, but he wasn’t available so there’s no point talking about his qualities.

“The entrance of Aguero gave more depth to their play and we defended worse and they took advantage of the wind to play long passes.”

Both teams appeared to have goals wrongly disallowed for offside while Albert Riera could have been awarded a first-half penalty even though he was rightly booked for diving by referee Claus Bo Hansen.

“I didn’t see any replays so I can’t say anything,” said Benitez. “But we had plenty of other situations in front of goal or on the edge of the box that we couldn’t finish to not need to talk about the referee decisions.

“The ref was okay, if you analyse every situation you might find some wrong, but I didn’t have a problem with him.”

Of the match officials, Atletico coach Javier Aguirre said: “It’s useless to talk about refereeing decisions. They have gone and we can’t do anything about them.”

The game passed off without incident off the field despite concerns prompted by trouble at Atletico’s previous home Champions League game against Marseille earlier this month, for which the Spaniards must now play their next two home European games at least 200 miles from Madird.

PSV Eindhoven beat Marseille 2-0 in last night’s other Group D game.

Keane happy with point in Spain

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Robbie Keane reflected on Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in Spain and admitted: "We're happy
to take a point."

The Reds led until seven minutes from time when the home side salvaged a point as Simao cancelled out Keane's first half opener.

It means both sides remain tied at the top of Group D with seven points from three games - with the chance for one of them to qualify with victory at Anfield in two weeks time.

"We dominated the first half and had a few chances," said Keane. "In the second half it was more difficult, they came back at us and got the goal.

"Because of the way the game ended we have to be happy with a point and now we can look forward to playing them at Anfield."

Keane had a golden chance to add a second in the first half but somehow failed to make contact in front of goal from Steven Gerrard's pinpoint cross.

"It was windy and the ball was moving all over the place but no excuses, I should have scored," added the Irishman.

"It was a great ball from Stevie and I know I should have done better. It was just one of those things."

Keane also revealed he felt a twinge in his groin during the second period, forcing his substitution from the pitch.

"It's a little bit sore but I don't think it's too bad and hopefully I'll be okay for Sunday," he said.

Atletico late show denies Liverpool


Liverpool were denied all three points as Simao Sabrosa's late goal earned Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw in their Champions League Group D clash.

The unmarked Simao drilled home a low shot with seven minutes remaining at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night to cancel out Robbie Keane's early opener for Liverpool as the two sides, having each won their first two games, remained unbeaten in Group D.

Liverpool controlled the first half and held a deserved lead at the break but Atletico, who had been unbeaten in their previous six home meetings with English opposition, fought back to salvage a point which could ease the pressure on under-fire coach Javier Aguirre.

The Champions League anthem at the start of the match was greeted by jeers and whistles from the home fans, while the Atletico supporters behind the goal also turned their backs to the pitch in protest against the punishment handed out by UEFA last week.

Atletico were given a three-match stadium ban in Europe and fined by UEFA following crowd disturbances and accusations of racism during their Champions League home match against Marseille.

Atletico have appealed against the punishment, which is the match against the Reds was able to go ahead at the Vicente Calderon and not at least 300 kilometres away from Madrid.

However, there was no obvious repeat of those crowd disturbances or racist chanting during Wednesday night's clash, which saw Liverpool quickly settle into their stride.

Benitez's troops, unbeaten in their last 15 matches, could barely have asked for an easier opening 45 minutes as they took an early lead through Keane before comfortably containing a toothless Atletico.

Keane's goal came not long after young Atletico midfielder Ignacio Camacho had headed over the first chance of the match following a Simao free-kick.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard created the chance with a superb pass through for Keane, who beat the Atletico offside trap before coolly slotting low past Leo Franco.

That was just the start Liverpool would have been hoping for and Gerrard and Xabi Alonso both then tried their luck from distance before Keane spurned a decent opening to double the visitors' lead.

He again escaped the attentions of his markers to get on the end of Gerrard's right-wing cross, but the Irishman attempted an ambitious flick and ended up missing the ball.

At the other end, a much-changed Atletico, who had lost their previous three league matches against Sevilla, Barcelona and arch-rivals Real Madrid, looked devoid of ideas going forward in the first half.

The hosts finally gave their fans something to get excited about in the 40th minute when former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan unleashed a 25-yard drive that flew just wide of Jose Reina's far post. Aside from that effort though, the Liverpool custodian, one of four Spanish players in the Liverpool line-up, had precious little to do before the break.

Atletico coach Aguirre, under pressure following three successive league defeats, decided it was time to change things around at the break and he sent on star striker Sergio Aguero for former Liverpool player Luis Garcia.

That change immediately appeared to give Atletico a lift as they twice came close to an equaliser soon after the break.

The first opening saw Maniche pick up a pass from Forlan on the far side of the area before firing in a shot that flew into the far corner of the net.

However, the Portuguese player was left with his head in his hands - along with the majority of the stadium - as he noticed the offside flag had gone up.

From an almost identical position moments later, Simao then drilled in a shot which Reina brilliantly helped onto the post and then gathered at the second attempt as Liverpool rode their luck.

Reina could do little about the goal that brought Atletico back on level terms in the 83rd minute however.

Simao was left in acres of space on the far side of the area and, after Forlan had picked him out, he drilled a low left-footed shot past the diving Reina to level the scores up at 1-1.

That goal set the stadium rocking and gave Atletico a huge boost, and Miguel then tested Reina with a well-struck volley soon afterwards.

Liverpool could have silenced the home crowd in the 89th minute though when substitute Ryan Babel sent a diving header just wide of the Atletico goal from close range, but the match would end up finishing all-square.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©