Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has said that his side have done their homework on Liverpool and are ready to do everything they can to get past Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The two sides meet in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday, the Reds travelling to the stadium where they picked up the club’s sixth European Cup in June.
Liverpool go into the tie as favourites, given their status as holders and Atletico’s recent injury record, but speaking to The Guardian, Niguez opened up on how his side are motivated to beat Klopp’s men.
The Merseyside outfit are yet to be beaten in the Premier League this term, with Napoli the only side to have beaten the club’s first team through a 2-0 victory in Naples in September.
Niguez also revealed his respect for the team Klopp has put together, but claimed to have worked out their flaws.
“They have those [hunting dogs] in the middle who run, press,” Niguez said. “It’s not just running for the sake of running: they do things that aren’t normal and it looks disordered but it’s ordered, mechanised.
“One comes out and you think That’s mad, why’s he there? But the other man knows and comes from here. Klopp said they play with their heart, but it’s planned too.
“One breaks out to press, wild, but they follow. It’s very hard to escape when they come at you like that. It’s incredible: they press like animals, because they know that even if they get turned there will be seven of them running like mad to get back.
“Liverpool are very complete, a great team in every area [but] they find it hardest when you’re deep because they’re very, very, very good in transition.
“I watched them against Norwich and if it wasn’t for [Sadio] Mane’s extraordinary control, they don’t win. They’ve won lots of games they could have drawn or lost, which tells you something about what they have inside.
“It’s not luck. It’s work, sacrifice, not giving up a single ball for lost.”
Niguez continued by warning Liverpool that they can expect a raucous atmosphere when they return to the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.
“We know how we can hurt Liverpool, their strengths and weaknesses, and we always compete against big teams.
“We have to make the most of the home game. There will be an incredible atmosphere, more than ever.”
Liverpool have never lost a two-legged tie in Europe since Klopp’s arrival at the club, having progressed to the final of the Europa League and Champions League in the past three seasons.
In other news, Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
The young winger only has 18 months left on his contract at the Emirates and the Reds, as well as Bayern Munich, are said to be circling.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are believed to be working hard on a new deal to ward off the interest.