Simeone criticises officials after 10-man Atletico lose at Liverpool

Diego Simeone was critical of the officials after Atletico Madrid’s Champions League hopes were left in the balance following a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Atletico ended the first half with 10 men as the LaLiga champions’ bid to reach the knockout phase was dealt a blow against last-16 bound Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.

Beaten 3-2 in the reverse fixture in the Spanish capital, having also lost Antoine Griezmann to a red card on matchday three last month, Atletico conceded goals to Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane before Felipe was dismissed nine minutes prior to the interval for a cynical foul on the latter and subsequent apparent dissent.

It is the first time since November 2019 Atletico have lost back-to-back Champions League group-stage games under Simeone, whose side are third in Group B – a point behind Porto in the race for the final round-of-16 berth with two matches remaining.

Afterwards, head coach Simeone vented his frustration as he told reporters: “It is difficult for us to form an opinion. Firstly, because we didn’t see the actions very well.

“The one from Griezmann [in the last game] was very quick. Of course, you could see later on TV as you probably have seen Jota’s one tonight [Wednesday], too. The one from [Jose] Gimenez v Porto is, in theory, similar to Felipe’s one tonight. These are up to the VAR people and the referees themselves.

“We coaches should be focused on improving the team and not stop on these things, which of course have an influence on the game because having one man less is a lot, especially in the first game when we were competing well and nearly winning the game.

“So, that decision made more difficulties for us in the game. Now is the time to be quiet, work together and again, I like how the team accepted its role in the second half and I give them all the credit for this.”

Atletico conceded two goals in the first half of consecutive Champions League games for the first time after 105 fixtures.

Currently in the Europa League spot, Atletico host bottom-placed Milan on November 24 before travelling to Porto for their final group fixture on December 7.

“It is not a very different situation to the ones we have gone through in previous years in the Champions League,” Simeone said on the team’s group-stage struggles. “Lately, we are struggling to go through from the group stages.

“We used to do it much easier before, not reaching the last match with all at stake. It is different lately. So, we have to play a good game against Milan and only be focused on that.”