New Atletico Madrid signing Ivo Grbic is looking forward to learning from Jan Oblak after completing his move from Lokomotiva Zagreb.

Croatian goalkeeper Grbic agreed a four-year contract with Atleti and joins for a fee that could reportedly reach €6million.

The 24-year-old considers Oblak, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea, to be the best keeper in the world and is looking forward to developing alongside the Slovenia international.

"I am really happy. Thanks to everyone in the club for the good welcome, thanks to the fans for the welcome messages and [I give] thanks for my dream to come here and play for one of the biggest clubs in the world," Grbic said in a club interview.

"I watch all Atleti's games. I like coach [Diego] Simeone, I like him, his character. All games, everyone gives 100 per cent. Everything is good.

"I like players in the history of Atletico; [Diego] Forlan, Fernando Torres, now Oblak. It's very good for me, I'll learn [in] every training [session] under one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

"For me he is the best and it's very, very good for me. Oblak is from Slovenia, which is near Croatia, I'll talk with him and learn every day."

Grbic kept 11 clean sheets and conceded 37 goals in 38 games in all competitions last season, earning a place in Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic's squad for the Nations League games against Portugal and France in September.

Atletico also announced academy keeper Alex Dos Santos had moved in the opposite direction and joined Lokomotiva.

Jan Oblak will only consider his Atletico Madrid future once their Champions League run is over.

The Slovenian goalkeeper has been touted as a possible target for Chelsea after impressing over six seasons with Atletico.

Ahead of their clash with RB Leipzig on Thursday, Oblak said all his focus was on that quarter-final as Diego Simeone's side attempt to become champions of Europe for the first time.

Winning the Europa League two years ago strengthened Atletico's resolve to go on and win the Champions League, the competition in which they were runners-up in 2013-14 and 2015-16.

"This is not the time for that, now it's Leipzig," he told AS when asked about rumoured Chelsea interest.

"I reflect on the season when the last game is over and hopefully we have three left. Then there will be time to talk. But first, Leipzig. I really want to get through.

"All of us who are here [in Lisbon] deserve it, but I hope our moment has come. It's difficult to think beyond this game, you have to beat Leipzig and then look at other things.

"But I couldn't be happier for me, for the team and for all at Atletico if we win this Champions League."

Atletico's preparations for the game have been disrupted by the positive COVID-19 tests of two players, forward Angel Correa and defender Sime Vrsaljko.

Oblak said everyone had been "a bit stressed by the tests", adding it was "a shame" that Correa and Vrsaljko had to stay behind in Madrid.

"I have not spoken much with them, but I have messaged them and they are fine, they do not have any symptoms or any problems," Oblak said.

The Atletico keeper may be privately glad that Leipzig will be without Timo Werner, the striker who has moved on to Chelsea.

But he was not willing to say as much, instead suggesting the Bundesliga outfit can find ways to compensate for the loss of the former attacking spearhead.

"Leipzig with and without Werner are a slightly different team, but they are neither better nor worse," Oblak said. "They have many options, a lot of quality and this year throughout the season they have shown it in the German league and in the Champions League."

Atletico Madrid may be one of the best teams in Europe but RB Leipzig have the talent to match them in their Champions League quarter-final, according to Kevin Kampl.

Having twice lost finals in the competition during Diego Simeone's reign, Atleti will hope to finally get their hands on the famous trophy as the knockout stages are completed in Portugal.

The LaLiga club ended Liverpool's title defence in the previous round but must now get past a Leipzig side who also knocked out English opponents to reach the last eight, impressively putting out Tottenham 4-0 on aggregate.

Leipzig midfielder Kampl knows Atleti will be tough to beat, considering their reputation for being strong defensively, but believes there is no real favourite ahead of Thursday's meeting.

"Atletico Madrid have been one of the best teams in Europe for years. They have a lot of experience on the field and have already made it to the final in recent seasons," he told the media.

"Even if they haven't won the title yet, we know that this team is of high quality. We also know that they defend very well and have an extremely good counter-attack and know how to use their phases of possession. Often a 1-0 win is enough for them.

"We have a great squad and are in no way inferior to Atletico's quality. We are always dangerous for goals, no matter what formation we play with or who will be on the pitch.

"In addition, we are all aware of this great opportunity that is presented to us here. Everyone will tear themselves apart to win and advance to the semi-finals. There is no real favourite on Thursday."

Leipzig will need to find a way to beat Jan Oblak, a goalkeeper Kampl knows all about from their time playing together for Slovenia.

The 29-year-old is full of praise for his compatriot, rating him "one of the best in the world" ahead of the clash to decide who will progress through to a semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain or Atalanta.

"Of course, I know Jan from my time with the Slovenia national team. He is a really outstanding keeper and for me is one of the best in the world," Kampl said.

"He has already achieved a lot in his career and he still has enormous potential. We actually have still been in contact now and then.

"We exchanged a few messages before we arrived and I'm looking forward to seeing him on the pitch on Thursday."

Luis Suarez is eager to stay at Barcelona amid MLS interest, while Chelsea may have a choice to make.

Suarez, 33, is out of contract at the LaLiga giants next year and has been linked with a move away.

The forward seemingly has options.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS BARCELONA STAY AMID INTER MIAMI INTEREST

Suarez has no intention of leaving Barcelona, according to Sport.

It comes after Mundo Deportivo reported Suarez has an offer from MLS club Inter Miami, but wants to extend his stay at Barca beyond 2021.

Suarez has scored 19 goals in 34 games in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are linked with further moves this close season. But Sport Bild reports Atletico Madrid are relaxed over the Premier League club's interest in Jan Oblak, with the LaLiga side doubting Chelsea can afford both the goalkeeper and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.

- Philippe Coutinho is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo claims Arsenal are best-placed to land the playmaker and Barca want only money for the Brazil international.

- Bayern Munich have set their price for Thiago Alcantara, who is linked with a move to Liverpool. Sport Bild says the Bundesliga champions want £27.2m (€30m) for the midfielder.

- Could Manchester City have received a transfer boost? Sport Bild reports David Alaba's contract talks with Bayern Munich are at a stalemate. Alaba is out of contract at Bayern next year and has been linked to City.

- Jesse Lingard's time at Manchester United could be over. The Daily Mail says United are prepared to sell the midfielder, who has been linked to Roma and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Jan Oblak is an Atletico Madrid player "period" and the best is still to come from Joao Felix, says Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo. 

The future of Oblak has been the subject of speculation with Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea linked with a big-money move for the goalkeeper. 

Chelsea have already splashed out to sign Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, while Kai Havertz is rumoured to be close to joining too.  

The Blues are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper after a disappointing campaign for Kepa Arrizabalaga, while David de Gea's own form at United has come under increased scrutiny. 

Oblak, who saw his four-season stranglehold on the Zamora Trophy - awarded to the best goalkeeper in LaLiga - ended by Thibaut Courtois, has proven himself as one of the best in the world over six years at Atleti. 

Cerezo is adamant the Slovenia international will stay at the Wanda Metropolitano, even when it was pointed out he once made similar assurances about Antoine Griezmann, who moved to Barcelona.

"I always say that Oblak has a contract with Atletico and is the best goalkeeper in the world. It is not strange that he has offers from other great teams," he told Marca. 

"I say the same as always. Oblak has a contract, he is an Atletico player, period. We have many players, our squad is the club's main asset. Oblak is a magnificent player and in his position, unquestionably, there is no one to beat him right now. 

"For me, Oblak - and I speak as an amateur - is the best goalkeeper in the world. Regarding Courtois, he is another great goalkeeper of those in the world and fortunately, both have played for us and with both we have been champions in many trophies." 

Cerezo also discussed the debut campaign of Joao Felix, who arrived in a €126million deal from Benfica last July as a replacement for Griezmann. 

The Portugal forward was one of the most sought-after prospects in world football but scored just six goals and contributed one assist in 27 LaLiga appearances. 

Cerezo remains convinced the 20-year-old will achieve his undoubted promise and believes Joao Felix will particularly relish competing in the delayed Champions League, which will be played as a straight knockout tournament in Lisbon from the quarter-final stage. 

"It was not easy for him because it was the first season, he came with wonderful expectations and I think he has really met it," Cerezo added.  

"We are all happy with Joao Felix's performance. I think for next season it will not be a promise, it will be a fact. I hope that in these Champions League games, it really highlights how great a footballer he is. 

"I think he is very excited and happy that it will be played in Lisbon. You have to think that he is 20 years old, he is a player with a promising future and that we are indisputably proud to have signed him."

Diego Simeone's men will be expected to overcome RB Leipzig in the last eight but Cerezo, who saw Atleti defeat holders Liverpool in the previous round, warned there is no "logic" in football. 

"According to what they say, the one that beats the European champion is the champion and we have eliminated them. Logically, we should be champions," Cerezo said. 

"Everyone is happy with Leipzig, I think it has been a good result of the tournament and we can undoubtedly be in the semi-finals, but from what I say to what happens there is a difference either for or against.  

"I think by logic we have to be there, but who has logic in football?" 

Manchester United are reportedly keeping an eye on Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, while Real Madrid want to raise €180million in transfer funds.

Amid pressure on David de Gea, United could look elsewhere for a goalkeeper.

It seems one of the world's best is on their radar.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD CONSIDER OBLAK

Manchester United are keeping tabs on Atletico Madrid star Oblak, according to The Sun.

Oblak, 27, is widely considered one of the world's best goalkeepers after starring across six seasons at Atletico.

The speculation comes with De Gea under pressure at Old Trafford following several mistakes this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid want to raise funds in the transfer market. Marca reports they are looking to make €180m, with James Rodriguez and Luka Jovic potentially making exits. It says a potential move for Gareth Bale, who is contracted until 2022, is more complicated.

- Kingsley Coman is reportedly a target for Manchester United. However, Sport Bild reports Bayern Munich rejected an approach from Manchester City for the attacker and they would do likewise to United.

- At rivals Barcelona, the focus seems to be on renewing some young stars. Sport reports the LaLiga giants are trying to re-sign Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Riqui Puig and Alex Collado.

- Manchester United want to resolve the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling. Sky Sports reports the Premier League club will not extend the loans of Sanchez, at Inter, and Smalling, at Roma, but are looking to seal permanent deals. Meanwhile, the Daily Record says United want to remain informed about offers for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.

- Amid speculation over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal may need a forward this close season. Le 10 Sport reports the Premier League club are considering a move for Wolves star Raul Jimenez.

- Victor Osimhen is set for Napoli. CalcioMercato reports a deal for the Lille forward is done and Napoli will pay €60m for the Nigeria international.

- After six seasons at Liverpool, Dejan Lovren is reportedly set for an exit. The Guardian reports the Croatian defender is close to joining Zenit for €12m (£10.9m).

Frank Lampard has not ruled out a spending spree amid reports linking Kai Havertz and Jan Oblak with Chelsea.

Lampard has already sealed the big-money signings of Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner.

The Blues are said to be leading the chase for forward Havertz, who Bayer Leverkusen reportedly value in the region of €100million (£90m), and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Oblak is also thought to be a target.

Lampard was unable to do any business before the start of this season due to a transfer embargo, which was lifted in December.

The former England midfielder did not reveal whether Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ready to spend big yet again, stating he is focused on the challenge of securing a top-four finish in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup.

"We'll see. I can't answer that one, we're not there yet," Lampard said on Friday when asked about potential recruits in the transfer window.

"We have to focus on what's in front of us and we'll see. I wouldn't want to compare it to any other spending summer, we'll see how I feel and we feel as a club and if the squad needs strengthening or the balance needs changing.

"If it does and we make moves, great. At the moment we don't know."

Ziyech has spent his first week of training with the London club and Lampard says he quickly fitted in.

The Blues boss said: "Hakim has been here for the week, trained a couple of days on his own and then he's integrated a bit with the team so he's settling in well. The lads have welcomed him and he's forming those new relationships in the early stages.

"More importantly for him, he's been getting himself fit. It's been nice for him to take a bit-part in training and then also get some physical work because he hasn't trained or played for a quite a while."

Diego Simeone is not surprised by rumoured interest in Jan Oblak but hopes the goalkeeper will remain at Atletico Madrid.

Oblak has been named best keeper in LaLiga for the previous four seasons and has only conceded 26 goals in 36 games in the current campaign, helping Atleti once again clinch a top-four finish.

Chelsea are reported to be interested in the 27-year-old Slovenian, with speculation suggesting they could look to involve Kepa Arrizabalaga in player-plus-cash deal.

Simeone has become accustomed to rumours over the future of key players in his squad, however, as was the case previously in the Antoine Griezmann transfer saga before he eventually joined domestic rivals Barcelona.

"It does not surprise me, every year our most important players are wanted by the best in the world," the Atletico boss told the media ahead of Thursday's game with Getafe.

"It is normal to always look for the best – and we have many. Some have left and others have stayed.

"It is logical and normal that anyone wants Oblak. He is our captain and an important player. I hope we can count on his work, which is enormous for Atleti."

When asked again about Oblak's future at Atletico during the media call, Simeone replied: "I repeat the same thing: it is normal that they want a goalkeeper of his characteristics and value.

"It does not surprise me. He is decisive and important in the dressing room year after year. He has evolved in every way, as a goalkeeper and within the group."

Oblak has been integral in helping Atletico's nine-match unbeaten run since the resumption of the season in Spain.

The impressive streak – which includes a 2-2 draw away to second-place Barcelona – has secured Champions League football again for next season, while they still remain in the running to win this year's competition after knocking out holders Liverpool in the last 16.

For Simeone, qualification is crucial for Atleti's development both on and off the field.

"It's our responsibility to qualify, always looking at the growth that the club has from this possibility that we generate by qualifying year after year," he said.

"That's how the club grows in every aspect, so it is a responsibility, an objective to be met, which is not easy always to do in life.

"We all have objectives, in any type of job. I have the luck, the work ethic and the perseverance to qualify every year and allow the club to grow and improve. When the goals are met it is normal for the club to grow."

For most of the year, Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Barca are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez, though, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have impacted their transfer plans.

However, a blockbuster move could still be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STILL WANT TO SIGN LAUTARO

Barcelona remain keen on signing Inter star Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Barca's interest in Martinez is well documented but a transfer has been put on hold as the LaLiga giants re-assess their plans after the Argentina forward's €111million release clause expired at the start of the month.

However, Barca head coach Quique Setien is reportedly considering three options in his pursuit to recruit Martinez.

Ousmane Dembele could be sold to raise funds or a swap deal involving Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti could be proposed to Inter, while a player plus cash offer including Junior Firpo is the third alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Chelsea are ready to swap goalkeepers. Unhappy with the world's most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are ready to use the Spaniard as a makeweight in a deal to sign Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing in-demand Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, reports Tuttosport. The Hungary teenager has been heavily linked to Milan and Napoli, as well as Arsenal.

Ajax are hopeful of keeping star goalkeeper Andre Onana for one more season, claims De Telegraaf. Onana has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Barca.

- Journalist Nicolo Schira reports Napoli are confident of reaching an agreement with Lille forward Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has been tipped to join the Serie A side, who have prepared a five-year contract worth €3.5m per season amid talk of an €80m transfer.

- While Osimhen could arrive, Napoli are set to lose Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato claims Italian champions Juventus are interested, while the likes of Atletico, Tottenham and Roma are also keen. Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is an alternative for Juve, as well as Atletico.

- According to Calciomercato, Edinson Cavani has turned down a move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. A free agent since leaving PSG, Cavani is reportedly wanted by Roma.

Everton and PSG both want to sign Napoli midfielder Allan, says Calciomercato. Napoli are looking to raise funds.

Manchester City will accelerate their rebuilding plans after having their Champions League ban overturned, claims the Telegraph. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – also linked to United, Liverpool and Real Madrid previously – is reportedly high on the list of targets, which includes Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Atletico star Saul Niguez.

Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak became the fastest goalkeeper to reach a century of LaLiga clean sheets after the team's 5-0 demolition of Osasuna.

Osasuna were put to the sword on Wednesday as Atletico star Oblak made history by keeping his 100th clean sheet from just 182 league appearances.

Slovenia international Oblak shattered the record set by Miguel Reina (222 matches).

Oblak has established himself as one of the world's best keepers since joining Atletico from Benfica in 2014.

The 27-year-old has tasted Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana success with Atletico, while he was a Champions League runner-up in 2015-16.

Atletico are fourth in the LaLiga standings through 29 matches following their midweek rout of Osasuna.

Diego Simeone's men are two points clear in the fourth and final Champions League spot, though Real Sociedad are scheduled to face Deportivo Alaves on Thursday.

Jan Oblak is determined to help German Burgos fulfil his dream of leaving Atletico Madrid a Champions League winner and spoke of his own ambitions to win the Ballon d'Or.

Diego Simeone's long-time assistant Burgos confirmed on Wednesday he would depart his role at the end of the season, having served as his fellow Argentine's number two at Catania and Racing Club before joining him at Atleti in 2011.

Burgos was part of the coaching team that won medals in LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League but twice suffered final heartbreak in the Champions League.

In his message to the fans, Burgos spoke about his desire to finally conquer Europe's premier competition and Atleti's superstar goalkeeper Oblak will do all he can to ensure he achieves that feat.

"Without doubt German is a club legend," Oblak told a news conference. 

"He is the second hand of Cholo [Simeone]. He does many things that are not seen but he is an important piece of this project and, as he said already, I hope he will leave the club this season as a champion [in the Champions League], that he will make his dream become true."

Oblak is considered as one of the world's best keepers but Lev Yashin remains the only shot-stopper to win the Ballon d'Or back in 1963.

The Slovenia international merely wants to keep performing to the best of his ability so that people keep his name in the conversation.

"Regarding the Ballon d'Or I have thought about that," he added. 

"As I always say I am training and playing, I try to improve every day, I am improving, I can improve and journalists and people are who give his opinion, write and talk about me. 

"The more people are talking about me the better, I am going to keep working to improve each year and at the end of my career I will be happy. 

"I will always give my maximum and at the end we will see what I have achieved."

While that coveted prize has eluded him, Oblak has won the Zamora Trophy – an award presented by Marca to the goalkeeper in LaLiga with the lowest goals-to-game ratio – for the past four seasons.

This season, Oblak faces a battle with Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – a two-time winner as an Atleti player – but his focus is on team and not individual accomplishments.

"I have never thought too much about this even though it is being mentioned a lot," he said. 

"This year is not only Courtois there as well but other two or three goalkeepers doing a spectacular season and that are not conceding many goals. 

"But I am not worried about that, only to finish in the Champions League positions, and to end up where we want to be. 

"About Zamora, if I finish the season well at a good level, I still can make it, but I never thought much about this."

LaLiga is set to resume later this month after the enforced suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Atleti, who are sixth and a point adrift of fourth, visit Athletic Bilbao on June 14.

Manuel Neuer is set for three more seasons at Bayern Munich after penning a contract extension until 2023.

The Germany international has established himself as one of the greats of the modern era and is well-placed to win an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.

The 34-year-old also counts the 2012-13 Champions League and 2014 World Cup among his career honours, but recent seasons have raised questions over whether he remains the same peerless operator he was during those mid-decade glory days.

Alexander Nubel's pending arrival from Schalke suggests Bayern are keen to insure themselves against any dip in form from their club captain over the coming years, so it feels a good time to ask - is Neuer still an elite goalkeeper when compared to contemporaries widely considered to be at the top of their trade?

HEADING BACK IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Sunday's 2-0 win at Union Berlin saw Neuer chalk up his 11th Bundesliga clean sheet of the season.

Aside from the 2017-18 campaign, when injuries restricted him to three top-flight outings, he has reached double figures for shutouts every year of his senior career – dating back to 2006-07 when he managed 13 from 27 games at former club Schalke.

However, having stopped around four of every five shots for the majority of his Bayern days, Neuer's save percentage plummeted to 59.7 last season, while his 23 goals conceded outstripped Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) number of 20.1.

xGOT gives an indication of the number of goals a goalkeeper should concede based upon the quality of shot faced.

This term, Neuer has those numbers in the right order once more. Although 26 let in is already his highest figure in the Bundesliga since his final season at Schalke (a whopping 44 in 2010-11), his xGOT number is 29.5 and his overall save percentage is back up to a more respectable 70.1.

TER STEGEN PRESSING A CASE FOR DIE MANNSCHAFT?

Having stood apart as Germany's number one for the best part of a decade, Neuer has seen Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen make an increasingly strong case to displace him in the national team.

Neuer's fitness woes coupled with a disappointing 2018 World Cup performance played a part, while Ter Stegen has arguably established himself as Barca's most important player not named Lionel Messi.

This campaign, Neuer is statistically out-performing his Germany rival. Ter Stegen has conceded 29 times with an xGOT reading of 26, while he has managed eight clean sheets from 26 LaLiga matches.

Last season, Ter Stegen's efforts made for very impressive reading, however, with 16 clean sheets and 32 goals conceded in 35 top-flight matches.

His xGOT was up at 38.3 and his save percentage was 72.7 – better than 65.5 this time around.

Both men have shown themselves to be fine proponents of the modern art of sweeper keeping, although Neuer is more active in this regard of late. According to Opta, Ter Stegen has five "keeper sweepings" to his name in each of the past two seasons, with Neuer making nine and 17.

OBLAK THE LEADER OF THE PACK

Looking beyond Germany's number one and two goalkeepers, there is a clear standout performer.

Jan Oblak's virtuoso display at Anfield as Atletico Madrid ended Liverpool's Champions League defence in March was enough to hearten any keeping enthusiast over the intervening barren months.

Such heroics are not unusual for the Slovenia star, who conceded 27 goals despite an xGOT number of 40.3 in 2018-19.

Oblak finished with 20 clean sheets last season, a figure Neuer touched in the back-to-back 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns at Bayern. Remarkably, Oblak had 24 league shutouts (and a save percentage of 81.8) in the latter, while he amassed 22 in 2017-18.

This time around, he only has 11 and his save ratio is below 75 per cent for the first time in his Atleti career, and 21 goals conceded compared to xGOT 22.3 has levelled out.

Oblak's two keeper sweepings in 2019-20 underlines his reputation as more of an "old school" goalkeeper, rather than someone accustomed to raiding out of their penalty area.

DE GEA COMING OFF HIS PEAK

Manchester United's David de Gea is also a player who would be counted as being at odds to the new wave of players between the posts, although a dip in his imperious levels has left the Spain international facing similar questions to Neuer over the past couple of seasons.

If United's second-place finish in the 2017-18 Premier League was one of Jose Mourinho's greatest achievements, it certainly ranks as one of De Gea's. He saved in excess of 80 per cent of shots and kept 18 clean sheets, conceding 28 times in 37 matches.

De Gea has already let in more in 2019-20 (30), while he shipped 54 in an increasingly error-strewn 2018-19. Although, perhaps it is as much a case of performances reverting to a mean and not bailing out some haphazard defending in front of him.

In the past two seasons, United's expected goals against (xG) – based upon the quality of chances afforded to opposition players – read 51.2 and 30.2.

SAFE HANDS AT THE BACK OF KLOPP'S MACHINE

Liverpool have transformed from great entertainers to a relentless winning machine since Alisson arrived from Roma in 2018, with Adrian's flimsy showing against Atletico in European competition serving as an uncomfortable reminder of the recent past for the Reds.

Able to build from the back, Brazil's number one has 29 keeper sweeping in a 58-game Premier League career, while also dealing well in the old currency of clean sheets, tallying up 31 in the competition.

Undoubtedly well protected by a defence led by Virgil van Dijk, Alisson is reliable when called upon. His 2019-20 save ratio is up to 80.4 from 77.1 per cent.

Last season, he out-performed his xGOT of 27.5 by letting in just 22, although 11 conceded is slightly higher than a staggeringly low 9.7 xGOT in 2019-20.

That number drops from an xG against of 17.5, suggesting Alisson – who missed an early chunk of the current season due to a calf injury – has also benefitted from wasteful finishing by opponents during Liverpool's march towards the title.

Diego Simeone compared Jan Oblak to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi after the goalkeeper's exploits as Atletico Madrid eliminated Champions League holders Liverpool.

Oblak produced a man-of-the-match display with a number of important saves in Atletico's stunning 3-2 extra-time victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool were on top for much of the last-16 second leg but they could not move clear of Atletico or get the better of Oblak as the visitors secured a 4-2 aggregate triumph thanks to Marcos Llorente's brace and Alvaro Morata's late goal.

Regarded as one of the world's best goalkeepers, Oblak earned high praise from Atletico head coach Simeone post-match.

"We have a goalkeeper who is the best in the world, no doubt," Simeone said. "I have been saying that for some time.

"It's like Barcelona who have Messi. He decides games with his attacking play; Oblak resolves them with his saves."

Llorente came off the bench to replace a frustrated Diego Costa and Simeone added: "Llorente revolutionised the team.

"I'm very happy for the team and the club. It was a historic match against an extraordinary opponent with great intensity and a beautiful stadium.

"They pushed and held, without us ever moving away from our plan and with everyone's effort we succeeded.

"It gives me an enormous joy because, although it seems simple, it's not simple to win."

Liverpool's Champions League title defence is in the balance ahead of Wednesday's last-16 second leg with Atletico Madrid, but Jurgen Klopp's home record with the Reds highlights the task facing Los Colchoneros.

The Spanish side won 1-0 thanks to an early Saul Niguez effort at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Atletico producing a quintessential Diego Simeone display as they fought to cling on to a slender win.

Their approach is unlikely to change at Anfield, but Klopp boasts an impressive record on Merseyside.

In the other of Wednesday's games, Borussia Dortmund take a 2-1 lead over Paris Saint-Germain to Parc des Princes, setting the second leg up tantalisingly with Erling Haaland eying a slice of history - though there will not be any fans in attendance due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Below are the key match facts, courtesy of Opta, ahead of the two finely-poised contests.

Liverpool v Atletico Madrid

2 - On each of the previous two occasions Liverpool have lost away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie, they have progressed to the next round; the Reds eliminated Chelsea and Barcelona in the semi-finals in 2006-07 and 2018-19, respectively.

0 - Klopp is yet to lose a home Champions League game with Liverpool (W11 D4). His most recent two home defeats in the competition have been in last-16 matches with Borussia Dortmund in 2013-14 (1-2 v Zenit) and 2014-15 (0-3 v Juventus).

1 - Atletico have won just one of their previous nine away Champions League knockout games (W1 D2 L6), a 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen in February 2017.

7 - Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in seven goals in five Champions League knockout appearances at Anfield (3 goals, 4 assists), averaging a goal involvement every 54 minutes.

37 - Atleti's Jan Oblak has conceded just 37 goals in his first 49 Champions League appearances. The record for the fewest goals conceded by a goalkeeper in his first 50 appearances is held by Dida (35), followed by Victor Valdes (38).

Paris Saint-Germain v Borussia Dortmund

0 - PSG have never progressed to the next stage of the Champions League after losing the first leg of a knockout tie, going out against Milan in 1994-95, Barcelona in 2014-15 and Real Madrid in 2017-18.

4 - Borussia Dortmund have always progressed to the next stage of the Champions League after winning the first leg of a knockout tie, doing so on all four previous occasions. The only team with a better 100 per cent progression rate after winning the first leg is Juventus (11/11).

5 - PSG have lost five of their previous six Champions League knockout matches (W1), losing each of their past two at the Parc des Princes against Real Madrid in March 2018 and Manchester United in 12 months later.

10 - Haaland is one of only five players to score 10 or more goals in their debut European Cup/Champions League campaign. The only player to score more than 10 was Claudio Sulser, who netted 11 goals in six appearances in 1978-79 for Grasshopper Zurich. Haaland also has the best minutes-per-goal ratio (one every 46 minutes) of any player in the competition's history to feature for at least 250 minutes.

37 - Neymar has been directly involved in 37 goals in 27 home Champions League appearances (20 for Barcelona, seven for PSG), scoring 25 goals and assisting 12. The Brazilian has never ended on the losing side in a home game in the competition (W24 D3).

The future of Lautaro Martinez could also have an impact on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Martinez is wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Aubameyang is reportedly eyeing an Arsenal exit.

Both players could be at different clubs in 2020-21.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ OUT, AUBA IN?

Inter will look to replace Barcelona target Martinez with Arsenal star Aubameyang, according to Calciomercato.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City following his exploits for Inter.

The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are considering selling forward Aubameyang, who is out of contract in 2021, and he could be targeted by Inter should Martinez leave San Siro.

ROUND-UP

- Kepa Arrizabalaga is Chelsea's record signing but his future at Stamford Bridge is in doubt. El Chiringuito TV reports Chelsea have offered out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa plus €30million (£25m) to Atletico Madrid for Jan Oblak.

Madrid are ready to offer €70m to Napoli for star midfielder Fabian Ruiz, claims Calciomercato. City and Barca are also reportedly looking to sign the Spaniard.

- Manchester Evening News writes that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. It comes as the Daily Express claims United are likely to offload Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

- Calciomercato says Inter are ready to battle Europe's elite for the signing of Gent star Jonathan David. The Canada international is wanted by the likes of United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Tottenham and Ajax.

Juventus hold an interest in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Calciomercato. Aouar is an option for Juve should the Serie A champions fail in their efforts to sign either United midfielder Paul Pogba or Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.