Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente says his two-goal salvo at Anfield which knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League last season was a massive turning point in his career.
The Spaniards were 1-0 up from February’s first leg. And in the March return at Anfield they managed to force extra-time after the Reds ended the 90 minutes 1-0 ahead after a 43rd-minute strike from Gini Wijnaldum.
The holders looked to be in control when Roberto Firmino put them 2-1 ahead on aggregate in the 94th minute.
But Llorente, who had been introduced as a second-half substitute, had other ideas.
In the space of eight minutes, he completely changed the complexion of the tie by scoring twice.
And with Liverpool in shock, he set up Alvaro Morata in the final minute of extra-time to seal Atletico’s dramatic victory.
Llorente had previously struggled to win over boss Diego Simeone following his move from Real Madrid.
But that night at Anfield changed everything.
“I always say, however, that in football you have to confirm yourself every day.
“I know that I had a good performance against Liverpool, but the important thing is to maintain this continuity of performance over time.
“I am succeeding and I am very happy with what I am doing.”
Llorente has made 12 appearances for Atletico this season and scored four goals.
Three were in La Liga while he also netted in the 3-2 Champions League win over RB Salzubrg.
Llorente dog rumours barking up wrong tree
However, the 26-midfielder said the story wasn’t quite true.
He explained: “The dog belongs to my mother, not mine.
“That day was really happy for her: my mother has always followed me with great affection.
“And, when we gave her a dog a few months later, she decided to call it that.
“The brace against Liverpool gave her unforgettable emotions.”