Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has said that his players will face Liverpool with no thoughts of the recent clashes between the teams.
The two sides meet at Anfield in the Champions League on Wednesday in matchday four of Group B. Liverpool hold the bragging rights, following their away win in Madrid last time out.
That victory moved them onto nine points from nine, with Atletico second on four points. As such, the Reds can seal qualification to the last 16 with a win.
Wednesday’s clash will be the fourth between the teams in three seasons. The first two saw Atletico beat Liverpool over two legs in 2019/20, including a comeback at Anfield.
However, Simeone has insisted that his players will have a clean slate for the upcoming match.
“It’s two great stadiums with two great sets of supporters with two clubs who want to continue growing globally so I think it is normal to be considered a great match,” the coach told his pre-match press conference.
“It isn’t about getting back at someone, in football it doesn’t exist. There’s no sense of ‘Let’s get back at them’.
“It’s a new match and whatever result tomorrow will be the consequences of that match and not the match which happened a year ago – even if the match a year ago will stay in the memories of the Atletico Madrid fans.”
Liverpool’s recent win over Atletico also made headlines for the immediate post-match action.
Simeone bypassed a handshake with Klopp, instead running down the tunnel.
He said that he feels handshakes are not always “healthy”, but was labelled “petty” by one pundit.
However, Klopp also admitted that his own initial reaction to the snub was not the best. He said the pair would shake hands “as if nothing happened” the next time they met.
Simeone talks Klopp, Liverpool handshake
Asked about the issue, Simeone explained again that he does not subscribe to the “custom” of post-match handshakes because of the “falseness it may include”.
“I don’t like the greeting after the match because they are the emotions of two sides in different emotional minds,” he added.
“I don’t know Klopp as a person very well but I know he is a great coach who has done great work at every club he has been at.”
Should Liverpool win on Wednesday, La Liga champions Atletico could be in a scrap for second place in Group B.
If AC Milan – currently on zero points – then beat Porto, who have four like Atletico, they will make the final two matchdays an intriguing watch.