Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggested Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone refused to shake his hand after an epic contest ended with a 3-2 win for the visitors in the Spanish capital.
ohamed Salah set yet another goalscoring record as Liverpool recovered from squandering a two-goal lead to beat 10-man Atletico 3-2 on a wild Champions League night in the Wanda Metropolitano.
Salah became the first man in the club’s history to score in nine successive matches with the first and last goals of a thoroughly-absorbing and occasionally crazy game.
In between a superb Naby Keita volley had given the visitors an early 2-0 lead only for Antoine Griezmann to strike twice before being sent off with 38 minutes remaining.
Salah thought he had had the final decisive say, slotting a penalty at the same end he did when Liverpool won their sixth European Cup in 2019 but that honour, in fact, went to referee Daniel Siebert who rescinded a late Atletico penalty award after consulting the pitchside monitor.
When the dust finally settled Liverpool had nine points from their first three matches and a five-point lead at the top of Group B with the chance to secure qualification at Anfield in a fortnight’s time against the Spaniards.
There was tension on the touchline at the end of the game, as Klopp and Simeone’s already frosty relationship took a turn for the worse as a handshake was not forthcoming.
“Yes the situation is clear. I want to shake his hand. His reaction for sure, like mine (when Atletico knocked Liverpool out at Anfield in 2020), was not so cool,” he stated.
“The next time we see each other we will shake hands definitely. It’s nothing. He was obviously angry, not with me but with the game. There is nothing else.”
Klopp suggested his side could improve on their performances despite scoring some stunning goals and overcoming big odds as Spanish champions Atletico didn’t have a game last weekend and had extra time to prepare for the game.
“It was a tough game. How you win it I couldn’t care less,” he told BT Sport. “The dirty ones are really important. When we are flying we win the game any way.
“It was the tough game we expected. We did surprisingly well early on and scored two wonderful goals, played really good football.
“Atletico are not bothered about having possession and we gifted the first goal, we could defend that better. The second goal was nice but our gaps were not just right.
“2-2 and people thought this game goes only in one direction but we played a solid second half, got a penalty, then the red card and then it is in our favour.
“We played a really solid second half in a tough game with intense football from both teams. We got the penalty, then there was a red card and obviously it was in our favour.
“They just won the balls and we didn’t do the right stuff anymore. We chose the easy pass but we needed to play between the lines. The last line was pretty deep. Then they came with wing-backs and midfielders and we stayed there instead of accelerating. The game was too slow and that was what they wanted. That was why the momentum changed.”
Liverpool are now emerging as strong contenders to win the Champions League, with Klopp’s side close to securing their place in the last-16 of the competition after an impressive start in a strong Group B.