MADRID: Saul Niguez scored the only goal as Champions League holders Liverpool suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on their return to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Spain striker Niguez fired home after only four minutes to give Atletico the advantage after the first leg of their last-16 tie against the 2019 champions.
Liverpool pushed and probed thereafter but failed to muster a single shot on target as Atletico retreated into a defensive rearguard action to thwart the Premier League leaders.
Despite having plenty of the ball, Jurgen Klopp’s men could not find a way through, making for an unhappy return to the venue where they won last year’s final.
Manager Jurgen Klopp said: “Atletico fans who can a get ticket… ‘welcome to Anfield’. Emotions are important. We speak from time to time about the power of Anfield and the power a stadium can have and tonight you saw that. But it’s half-time and we’re 1-0 down. The second half will be played in our stadium and they will feel it.”
He added: “I have no problem with the result. I saw so many happy faces at Atletico, but it’s not over yet. They were going constantly to the petrol station and we drove with one tank.”
Captain Jordan Henderson, who came close with one of Liverpool’s two openings, was substituted in the 80th minute after picking up a minor hamstring injury.
Erling Haaland continued his sensational start to life with Borussia Dortmund, scoring a second-half double in their 2-1 first-leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
The prolific Norwegian, just 19, took his tally to 11 goals in seven matches on his Champions League debut for the Bundesliga side.
Neymar missed PSG’s best chance of the first half when he sent a free-kick wide, while Raphael Guerreiro and Jadon Sancho went close for the hosts. Neymar was also booked after the break for a clash with Axel Witsel as things began to get a little tetchy.
The visitors were beginning to dominate with Kylian Mbappe denied twice by Roman Burki before Haaland struck from close range in the 69th minute, cashing in on a rebound in the area.
Neymar equalised in the 75th minute when he converted a cross from Mbappe but, two minutes later, Haaland fired Dortmund ahead again.
Haaland has scored 10 Champions League goals in just seven appearances, reaching the tally four games quicker than any other player in the competition’s history.