Diogo Jota, and Sadio Mane scored as former Champions Liverpool have secured their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at Anfield.
Jota opened the scoring in the contest with a header after 13 minutes and Mane followed it up eight minutes later with a reactive finish inside the box.
Atletico then had Felipe sent off towards the end of the first half as Juergen Klopp’s men easily overcame a dangerous side on Wednesday night to confirm their status as Group B winners, with two fixtures remaining.
With AC Milan held to a draw by FC Porto earlier in the day, the win at home secured Liverpool the top spot in the group and a place in the Round of 16.
Brazilian midfielder Fabinho returned to the starting XI after a three-match absence through injury and was among five changes for the evening. The other changes saw Kostas Tsimikas, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Jota handed starting berths.
Both teams begin cautiously and it was a fairly even start to the contest, unlocked by some patient play from Liverpool down the right flank.
Jordan Henderson rolled the ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who sent a whipped, first-time cross into the penalty area and Jota was there on the edge of the six-yard box to head the ball home. making it 1-0.
Another superb delivery from the Reds’ right-sided full-back produced the team’s second goal.
Mane brushed off several Atletico defenders on a run as the ball made its way towards the right-hand side once again.
From there, Alexander-Arnold fired at the goal from distance. Mane intercepted the shot inside the box and redirected it into the back of the net.
Oxlade-Chamberlain nearly made it 3-0 a minute later but was inches off target with a great effort.
It then got worse for the visitors when Felipe was dismissed following a cynical foul on Mane. Quickly looking to capitalise on the one-man advantage, Mohamed Salah and Jota were denied by smart saves from Jan Oblak in the visitors’ goal.
Mane was replaced by Roberto Firmino at half-time and the attacks on Atletico citadel continued.
Three minutes into the second period, Portuguese forward thought he had netted his second and the Reds’ third when he calmly slotted past Oblak from Matip’s brilliant threaded pass, but a VAR review ruled the goal off for offside.
It continued to be all Liverpool in the second half. A charging run from Salah ended with a save from Oblak and vital clearance from Rodrigo De Paul to stop Jota from converting the rebound. From the resulting corner kick, Matip sliced a shot wide.
Jota then didn’t connect properly with Tsimikas’ fine cross as he watched the ball drift just past the wrong side of the post.
Atletico believed they had pulled one back when Luis Suarez’s effort from distance deflected off Matip and wrong-footed Alisson Becker. But again, VAR ruled it out for offside in the build-up.
The visitors showed they were still a danger with 10 men when they launched a threatening counter-attack, which ended with a tame shot from Hector Herrera.
Liverpool continued to dominate proceedings but couldn’t add the third goal.