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Wednesday, 03 June 2020

Atletico eliminates Liverpool from Champions League

AP , Thursday 12 Mar 2020
Marcos Llorente
Atletico Madrid's Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal against Liverpool. (Photo: AFP)
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Atletico Madrid ended Liverpool's title defense in the Champions League with a 3-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday thanks to two goals by Marcos Llorente in extra time and another by fellow substitute Alvaro Morata.

Atletico advanced 4-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.

Roberto Firmino had just put Liverpool 2-0 ahead on the night - and 2-1 up on aggregate - with a 94th-minute goal when its backup goalkeeper, Adrian, made a poor clearance three minutes later that led to Llorente rolling in a finish.

That meant Atletico was leading on the away-goals rule but Llorente gave the Spanish team more breathing space with his second goal on the counterattack just before the end of the first extra-time period.

Liverpool couldn't engineer another memorable Anfield turnaround and failed in its bid to reach a third straight final, having beaten Tottenham for its sixth European Cup title last year after losing to Real Madrid the previous season.

Jurgen Klopp's team will have to be content this season with winning the English league championship for the first time in 30 years. That could happen as early as next week, with the Reds holding a 25-point lead and needing just two more wins to clinch the title.

As for Atletico, another run in the Champions League is making up for a disappointing season in La Liga, where the team is in sixth place.

Llorente is in his first season at Atletico after a controversial move from fierce local rival Real Madrid in the offseason last year. His father, Paco, and great uncle, Francisco Gento, are greats at Real. Morata is also a former Real player.

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