Atletico Madrid director Clemente Villaverde believes Liverpool are the “best team around” after being drawn alongside Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Champions League last-16.
The Spaniard is hoping his side can match up to the current European champions after they were drawn to play each other in the next round of this year’s competition.
Atletico vs Liverpool: Five things to know…
- Liverpool have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last-16.
- The Reds won last season’s final against Spurs and are current holders.
- Liverpool won Group E while Atletico finished runners-up in Group D.
- The first leg will be played in Spain on 18 February 2020, with the return leg at Anfield.
- Atleti director Villaverde has praised Liverpool’s ability in the wake of the draw.
Liverpool have been handed a tough match-up in the last-16 of this season’s competition but they will be feeling confident of progression.
The Reds currently lead the Premier League by 10 points while Atletico Madrid sit 5th in La Liga, six points behind leaders Barcelona.
Atletico director Clemente Villaverde recognises the difficulty of facing Liverpool but knows his side won’t make life easy for them.
“You can say Liverpool are the best team around right now, given they are the reigning champions. But we will work hard and we won’t make life at all easy for the European champions,” Villaverde said following the draw.
Atletico are not far off the top sides in La Liga right now and Villaverde admitted he is hopeful they can still be challenging for honours on all fronts when his side meet Liverpool in February.
“Let’s see how the form is in a couple of months. With how we’re growing and improving, I’m sure it’ll be another story. We’re playing well and want to be in with a shout of everything come the end of the season,” he added.
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The next round of the Champions League takes place in February, with the first-legs kicking off between the 10th and 18th while the second-legs take place between the 18th and 26th.
Liverpool start at home on 11 February before traveling to the Spanish capital a week later, but their immediate attention will turn to the Fifa Club World Cup, where they face Monterrey on Wednesday night.