Luis Suarez believes Atletico Madrid have learnt their lessons about how to combat Liverpool as he prepares to return to Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool will play host to Atletico on matchday four of the Champions League group stage. In the reverse fixture recently, the Reds beat their Spanish counterparts 3-2.
If they can repeat the win, they will already be able to fix one eye on the knockout stage. But Atletico will be aiming to give a better account of themselves.
Suarez will be key to their hopes of earning a better result upon his return to familiar surroundings. He previously played for Liverpool in a successful spell between 2011 and 2014.
Now 34 years old but still at the peak of his powers, Suarez knows what it will take to compete with Liverpool. He has told UEFA.com that Atletico cannot afford to make tiny mistakes that they may have in their previous meeting.
“I think that in this type of game, against big teams, and in the Champions League, details can go against you,” he said. “Any small detail, the smallest of mistakes, a millisecond in which you’re distracted… in the Champions League you pay for it. That’s obvious.
“If from the first until the last whistle you don’t play with conviction, with personality and desire to win, if you get distracted in a Champions League game, you pay for it.
“I think that’s what happened against Liverpool. We started very well. But they are strong and intelligent and very experienced, and they were ahead in the first 20 to 25 minutes, until we got back in the game.
“I think in the second half, after Antoine Griezmann was sent off, we were a bit down because we had one man less. But we kept playing to the same standard.
“The pace was very high, and they started to attack a little bit more until the penalty.”
Suarez spots signs of Liverpool weakness
Winners of the competition in 2019, Liverpool remain a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
Having experienced it first hand, Suarez is well aware of what their home crowd could contribute to the game. But what matters is what happens on the pitch, where the Uruguay international knows what Liverpool’s strengths and weaknesses are.
“Of course, every team has its strengths and weaknesses,” he added. “We know how good Liverpool are on the counter attack when they get the ball up to their pacy attackers.
“We know they have some weaknesses we could exploit in our favour. And we should exploit them again in the next game.
“We have to pay attention because, besides using those strengths, they have an extra player, which is the Anfield crowd. And that makes things harder for us.”