Atletico Madrid 2-3 Liverpool: History-making Salah seals dramatic win
Mohamed Salah made history by scoring in a ninth successive match for Liverpool to earn the Reds a dramatic 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid, who had two-goal Antoine Griezmann sent off and a late penalty contentiously overturned.
In-form forward Salah opened the scoring inside eight minutes in Tuesday's breathless Champions League tie before Naby Keita volleyed in a second five minutes later as the visitors took complete control at Wanda Metropolitano.
That was the earliest Atletico had gone two goals down in a Champions League match, though they hit back before half-time through Griezmann's double.
Griezmann was sent off early in the second half for a high boot on Roberto Firmino and Liverpool made the man advantage count when Salah scored a second of his own from the penalty spot.
Liverpool, who were given a late reprieve when a penalty awarded for Diogo Jota's shove on Jose Gimenez was overruled following a check of the pitchside monitor, now hold a five-point lead over Atletico and Porto at the top of Group B.
At 29 years and 130 days, Liverpool fielded their oldest starting line-up in a match since September 1953 and their experience showed in a fast start that saw them open the scoring early on.
Salah's left-footed shot from outside the box took a deflection on its way past Jan Oblak and was later credited to the Egypt forward after some initial confusion over who the final touch came off.
Atleti continued to be pushed back and they found themselves two goals behind soon after when Felipe's poor defensive header fell nicely for Keita to thump home with a dipping first-time shot from 18 yards.
But the home side soon settled and were back in the game thanks to a slight touch from Griezmann to help Koke's shot into the bottom-left corner, the goal allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR check for a possible offside in the build-up.
Griezmann was then denied by Alisson when played clean through on goal, but the France international made amends by taking Joao Felix's pass in his stride and coolly slotting past the Liverpool goalkeeper.
Alisson and Oblak continued to be called into action in a frantic end-to-end match, but momentum shifted back in Liverpool's favour with 52 minutes played with Griezmann's straight red card.
Jurgen Klopp's side made a spell of pressure count 12 minutes from time as Mario Hermoso barged into Jota inside the box and Salah, who missed a penalty against Milan in Liverpool's opening group match, buried the spot-kick.
There was still time for more drama in the Spanish capital, with referee Daniel Siebert pointing to the spot for Jota's challenge on Gimenez, but the decision was controversially overturned before substitute Luis Suarez could step up and take the penalty.
2+1 - Antoine Griezmann is the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score twice and be sent off. Comedown.
What does it mean? Reds end winless Atleti run to take control of group
Liverpool had failed to beat Atletico in their previous four Champions League meetings prior to this thriller – only Basel had they faced more often without winning in their proud European Cup history. The Reds did it the hard way after giving up their lead, but maintained their record of scoring at least three times away from home in every away game this term – a run that now spans seven matches – and they now have one foot in the last 16 thanks to their five-point buffer at the top.
Salah sets another record
Salah's incredible individual strike against Watford at the weekend saw him match Sam Raybould (1902-03), John Aldridge (1987-88) and Daniel Sturridge (2013-14) in scoring in eight successive games for Liverpool. He now holds the record outright with his latest strikes, with his double meaning he has also now scored in six straight away matches for the Premier League side in Europe.
Topsy turvy night for Griezmann
Griezmann has taken his time to get going since returning from Barcelona but had a huge say in this game, with his brace the sixth he has managed for the club in the Champions League – no other Atleti player has managed more than two.
However, his red card for a perceived high boot proved pivotal. Griezmann had every right to feel aggrieved as he had his eyes on a looping ball and did not see Firmino, whom he caught in the face, but he nevertheless became the first player in Champions League history to score twice and also be sent off in the same match.
Key Opta Facts
Atleti conceded more than twice in a Champions League home game for the first time under Simeone, last doing so in December 2009 against Porto (0-3).
Liverpool led 2-0 after just 13 minutes – the earliest Atleti have ever been two goals down in a Champions League match before.
However, it was also the first time Liverpool have ever scored and conceded two goals in the opening half of a Champions League game.
Andrew Robertson's assist for Salah's opener was his first in 30 Champions League appearances, since getting one against Crvena Zvedza in October 2018.
Salah has scored 18 of the 20 penalties he haa taken for Liverpool in all competitions, a conversion rate of 90 per cent from the spot for the Reds.
Atleti host LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad on Sunday, the same day Liverpool travel to bitter rivals Manchester United in the Premier League.