The return leg of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid now has an added spice to it.
The Reds were left furious after their 1-0 reverse at the Wanda Metropolitano, a ground where they had previously enjoyed such happy memories after lifting their most recent title on June 1 last year.
Not only did Jurgen Klopp’s side openly accuse their opponents of playacting to get them booked, they also felt Atleti’s celebrations at full-time were a little premature given that there’s still 90 minutes to go.
“Welcome to Anfield,” was Klopp’s response. “It’s not over yet.”
The jewel of Merseyside may be notoriously intimidating on European nights – case in point, look what happened to Barcelona in their semi-final second leg last season after going 3-0 up at home.
- Diego Simeone’s highlights reel vs Liverpool
- Andy Robertson hits out at Atleti in interview
- Thread of all the Atleti v Liverpool ref mistakes
However, such was Atletico’s delight at their initial triumph that they are revelling in it before they head to England next month.
It was made all the sweeter by a collective feeling in the dressing room that Liverpool had been ungracious in defeat.
Šime Vrsaljko – who was at the centre of the hosts’ antics, doing his utmost to get Sadio Mane sent off – showed just how much the squad were enjoying getting one over on the holders by uploading a video of them waving shirts around and dancing in the dressing room on his Instagram page.
Mysteriously, it’s since been deleted…probably just as well given that he and his teammates were accused of getting carried away with a first-leg victory. Fortunately, the internet does not forget and El Chiringuito TV managed to capture the footage before it was taken down:
Vrsaljko’s decision to take it down could be perfectly innocuous – or it might suggest the players’ dancing was a further celebration which should not really have been broadcast.
Atleti’s tactics weren’t pretty but they got the job done and whatever you think of the way they’ve conducted themselves, the fact remains that they hold the advantage going into part two.
Vrsaljko’s video is sure to add even more fuel to the fire as Liverpool seek revenge.