Liverpool will face more severe tests against Atletico Madrid than Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals last season, according to John Barnes.
Atletico got the better of the Reds in the first leg of the round of 16 against Wanda Metropolitano, with an initial goal by Saul Niguez that allowed the home team to win 1-0.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will have to produce a much improved display at Anfield to reach the quarterfinals of the competition and draw inspiration from their extraordinary return against Barca in 2019.
Liverpool lost 3-0 at Camp Nou after a Lionel Messi masterclass, but managed to beat the Spanish champions 4-0 at home before continuing to lift the trophy with a final victory over Tottenham in Madrid.
Barnes has warned that Atletico will have a completely different perspective given his defensive prowess, with Diego Simeone likely to instruct his team to sit back and absorb the pressure again.
Sky Sports . “You say that Barcelona are a better team than Atletico, but not on the defensive.” data -eagid = “24”> “I think it’s different to play at Atletico Madrid and Barcelona,” said the Liverpool legend Sky Sports . “You say that Barcelona are a better team than Atletico, but not on the defensive.
“If they have to defend an advantage and have 20% possession and not admit that that’s what Diego Simeone does.
“So it was a great shock for Barcelona, but I think it will be more difficult against Atletico.”
After being humiliated by Atletico, Liverpool broke their unbeaten Premier League record at Watford before being knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea on Tuesday, with questions asked about a perceived drop in collective standards after the winter break.
However, a first league title in 30 years remains only four wins away and Barnes does not believe that Klopp’s team deserves the criticism that has made headway in the past two weeks.
“In the past 18 months, we can’t fault them [Liverpool] in any form or form, “he added.” There is a lot to do on the fact that they have lost three of the last four, I would prefer to think that we have lost three, four of which one in the last season, in the last 70 or 80 games.
“I don’t think it will ever go on, Liverpool played hard. It didn’t necessarily get better players than any other team in the first four or five.
“They have a good attitude, commitment, determination and harmony with fans, which means that they have maximized their potential to do what they have done.”
Liverpool will return to the Premier League on Saturday against Bournemouth before preparations for Atletico’s arrival at Anfield on 10 March begin.