Simeone Atletico Madrid

Atletico needs to be at their best to beat Liverpool

It would be fair to suggest Atletico Madrid's current plight is the most challenging moment of Diego Simeone's historic spell as coach with the club, yet ahead of Los Colchoneros' Champions League tie with Liverpool the Argentine is facing his greatest challenge in order to keep the Reds quiet.

Jurgen Klopp has the forward line that is the envy of almost every, if not all, coaches in world football with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino heading into the latter stages of the campaign in blistering form.

No team in the Premier League, aside from a resilient Manchester United rear-guard, have been able to keep Liverpool at bay this term, with their movement going forward virtually impossible to manage.

Sitting an admirably comfortable 25 points ahead of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in the Premier League table is evidence enough of the incredible unit Klopp has put together.

Atletico Madrid have stood out as the defensive powerhouse of Europe in recent seasons, but the summer of 2019 forced Simeone to rebuild.

Diego Godin left for Inter, Filipe Luis returned to Brazil, whilst Lucas Hernandez made the move to Bayern Munich who met his buyout clause.

Veteran Juanfran also signed for Brazilian club Sao Paulo which left significant holes in the club's once famed defensive corps. Added to this was the sale of Rodri to Manchester City which took away a vital shield in front of the back four.

Atletico conceded the second fewest number of goals in Spain's top flight, although a lot of this can be attributed to the continued brilliance of goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Goals have been hard to come by at the other end of the pitch and injuries to Alvaro Morata, Joao Felix and Diego Costa haven't helped.

If Atletico are to get the better of Liverpool, they will need to be defensively resolute, focused and take their chance when it inevitably comes.

Two of the best performances of the Simeone era in Madrid have come in the Champions League where they completely nullified both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in some of the most brilliant defensive displays in living memory.

The spirit of those heroic giant-killings will have to be conjured when Atletico Madrid take on the Premier League champions-elect and Simeone will have accomplished one of his greatest coaching achievements if he can progress through to the quarter-final.