When Firmino increased the score to 2-0 for Liverpool, many people thought of a victory for the “Red Brigade”. However, Marcos Llorente suddenly shone to put Atletico in the quarterfinals.
On March 12, Liverpool welcomed Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16. With home advantage, coach Juergen Klopp’s army quickly established an overwhelming attack. They maintained that position for 90 minutes but only once shook the net Jan Oblak in the 43rd minute, after Gini Wijnaldum’s goal.
The result forced the two teams to enter extra time to determine victory or defeat. Once again, Wijnaldum helped Liverpool to celebrate when he had the right cross to Firmino headed the ball and hit the post and kicked the ball into success. Liverpool lovers begin to think of the Champions League quarterfinals.
But Marcos Llorente appeared and splashed cold water on the heads of those who loved the “Red Brigade”.
Marcos Llorente-The one who defeated Anfield Fort
Compared to the first leg at Wanda Metropolitano, coach Diego Simeone made 3 changes. However, Marcos Llorente still has not been given a chance to start. Atletico played with a familiar 4-4-2 scheme with the strikers Joao Felix and Diego Costa.
Under the constant pressure of Liverpool, Atletico did not have many balls to deploy an attack. During the first half and the beginning of the second half, Costa made only one shot but was incorrect. The Spanish striker and his partner Felix did not find each other in attack. 56 minutes, coach Simeone pulled Costa and Llorente launched into the field.
At this time, Angel Correa was pushed up to pair with Felix, while Llorente put four people in the midfield and played right behind the two forwards. At this time, Atletico has a faster transition state from defense to counterattack. The aforementioned set of 3 possesses the ability to handle individuals better and more flexibly than Costa.
In the 97th minute of the first period of extra time, goalkeeper Adrian carelessly handled the ball into the right of Felix control. Immediately, the Portuguese player rushed forward and then passed to Marcos Llorente, who tried to pressure in the situation of Alexander-Arnold’s pass. After 2 beats, Marcos Llorente provided a good shot, equalizing the score 2-2 over 2 matches.
At the 105 + 1 minute, Marcos Llorente once again shone. From the counterattack situation of Atletico, the midfielder No. 14 handled confidently and then made a goal in front of the obstruction and shielding of 3 Liverpool players, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and James Milner. While Gomez hesitated, Marcos Llorente was too assertive. After 2 shots in the same scenario, he scored 2 goals.
At the end of the match, Marcos Llorente again caused the hearts of the bleeding Liverpudlian to shatter. He has a clever handling phase and launched a slot for Morata to score, fixing Atletico’s 3-2 victory at Anfield. Strong fortress, the fulcrum of Liverpool was pulled completely down. Whoscored rated Llorente as the best player in the match with 8.9 points.
Used to be redundant at Real Madrid
Llorente was born in 1995 into a family of sports tradition when his father Paco was a striker and his mother Maria Angela was a volleyball player. Llorente inherited good qualities from his parents and joined Real Madrid‘s training academy at 13 years old.
In October 2015, Llorente made his La Liga debut when he came on as Mateo Kovacic in Real’s 3-0 win over Levante. However, the 20-year-old could not compete for an official position at the Bernabeu and was pushed to Alaves on a loan deal in the 2016/17 season.
This is considered a turning point in Llorente’s career. In Alaves shirt, he confirmed his talent in the middle area. Under coach Mauricio Pellegrino, he was one of the best players in the Basque country. They reached the Copa del Rey final and finished 9th in the La Liga standings. He is also the most played midfielder of Alaves with a time of 3,299 minutes.
Llorente also led La Liga in the number of ball recoveries while playing as Levante’s anchor midfielder. He is also a player with many passes opening opportunities for counterattacks for Pellegrino’s army.
Llorente’s impressive performances at Levante made Real decide to bring him back to the Bernabeu. However, during the two periods of Zinedine Zidane’s reign and the time when Julen Lopetegui or Santiago Solari sat in the hot seat, Llorente was not respected. He did not stand out to compete against Casemiro, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and the latest Federico Valverde.
Llorente’s decision to leave Real is now correct. In the 2019/20 season, he has 21 matches for Atletico in La Liga and the Champions League, including 13 appearances from the bench.
He has yet to finish taking a starting spot, but gives coach Simeone a reliable choice and can make a difference. Currently, Llorente has 4 goals and one assist for Atletico in Champions League. If he continues to maintain his form and has more explosive performances, Llorente has the right to dream of a place for Euro 2020 in the Spanish line-up.
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