Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will respect any decisions made by authorities regarding the coronavirus outbreak and was unhappy at being asked whether he was worried about his players being exposed.

Klopp told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Atletico Madrid he would accept any decision taken relating to holding fixtures behind closed doors.

Fans will be present for Liverpool's clash with Atletico, but elsewhere in Europe all Serie A matches have been halted until next month while a host of other leagues are playing matches without supporters.

"Whatever will be decided, we will respect," Klopp said about the prospect of matches being played behind closed doors. 

"It's clear that we will accept that but I don't know how much sense it will make in this moment.

"We need time to find a solution. How can we get that time and avoid different situations? I don't know enough about how much [closing stadiums] for the football games could help.

"The problem is if you are not in the stadium then you are in close rooms and watching it maybe together, I am not sure what is better in this case – I mean that.

"It's not about me as a manager, it's about being a human being. Some things are more important than football and we realise that in this moment. We all have families, friends, kids, parents who we want to be well." 

After answering initial questions on the virus, Klopp took exception to being asked by a Madrid-based reporter whether he was worried about his players.

Klopp said: "Are you from Madrid? Are you concerned in your city? 

"Playing football is not special, it is just a game, we are not the society, we are part of it and we should all be worried at the same time.

"That's exactly the thing I don’t like, you sit there and ask this, but fly from Madrid to here. They are closing schools and universities and you are obviously concerned, and that is the question. But you think now football is worth travelling for.

"It is our common problem and we cannot sort it with football. We play football, that is our part, what we have to do.

"Your job is to transport information and I hope you do it better than you ask questions. It really gets me angry when you ask me a question and suggest I have a problem that you don't have. We have all the same problem. 

"You talk to people every day to people from close range which I don't do, so are you worried? The players at the moment are all healthy. What we do with not shaking hands is setting a sign, not [because players are more at risk]. 

"It's good for you and it is good for me not to shake hands. It's a sign for society, for everyone. Are we all not in the same boat?"

Atletico Madrid fans jeered Diego Simeone's decision to withdraw Joao Felix during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sevilla but the coach explained he was under instruction to be "careful" with him.

Los Colchoneros missed out on the chance to usurp Sevilla and go third in LaLiga, as they struggled to break down their visitors after a thrilling first half.

Alvaro Morata's penalty and Joao Felix's deflected effort cancelled out Luuk de Jong's well-taken opener, before Lucas Ocampos' spot-kick – which he won – just before half-time earned Sevilla a deserved point.

With Atletico chasing a late win, the previously lively Joao Felix was taken off for former Sevilla winger Vitolo in the 80th minute, and the home fans seemed unimpressed by the alteration.

But Simeone stressed he felt it to be a necessary decision.

"We can't tell people that he felt overloaded in his calf," Simeone told reporters when asked to address the whistles that accompanied his withdrawal.

"The doctor told me to be careful with Joao because he was getting cramps, that's why the change came.

"That he scored a goal to make the people happy is normal, because he's from Atletico."

VAR attracted much attention during the match, as the two penalties came after lengthy reviews – Simeone felt the outcome of both incidents was fair.

"It ends up being more fair than unfair," he said. "I am far away from the play of the first penalty and very far for the second, so I cannot enter a summary.

"I don't think that the defining factor of the match was the VAR. It has been a good duel with two teams fighting for very high goals.

"We were two teams that have competed very well, and that will surely compete until the end for the Champions League [places]."

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was less impressed by the use of VAR, however, particularly in terms of how long it took for the final decisions to be communicated.

"I believe that the VAR should intervene when situations are white or black," he added. "If you are waiting three minutes to see if you are going to review the decision or not, then that play is not very clear.

"There are many browns [rather than black or white] in football. That is what I meant. It should only intervene when it is black or white, because it cannot take so long, also because of the rhythm of the match, it stops too much.

"It was a very nice match. He [the referee] can't stand around for four or five minutes."

Diego Simeone is convinced Joao Felix "can go far if he wants to" despite struggling in his first season at Atletico Madrid.

Joao Felix became Atletico's record signing when he arrived from Benfica for €126million in pre-season, coming in as Antoine Griezmann's replacement.

But the Portugal international's impact has not been as significant as expected, scoring just three goals in 19 LaLiga appearances, having also missed a chunk of the season through injury.

Atletico face a fight to qualify for a Champions League spot, as they sit fifth behind Getafe and Sevilla – their visitors on Saturday – in the battle for a top-four place.

Simeone remains a believer in Joao Felix's abilities and potential ahead of a crunch clash with Sevilla on Saturday.

"He started with great enthusiasm," Simeone told reporters on Friday. "He had two injuries that took him out of that continuity.

"He is looking for that continuity in the team again, that continuity we all need and expect from him.

"Hopefully he gets to where he suggested he could, because in the case of young boys it is a consequence of where one wants to go. If he wants to go far, he can."

Like Joao Felix, Diego Costa has also recently returned to fitness and could play a significant role in the final weeks of the season, with Simeone optimistic about the striker's condition.

"I see him growing, looking for his best state, training accordingly to want to improve," the Atleti coach continued.

"He was never a great header, his game was more direct, more vertical, more positional. He felt comfortable in the game [against Espanyol].

"I see him [getting] better. He could not show all this the other day, but it is a phase of his recovery and we can count on him."

The visit of Sevilla comes just four days before Atletico's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Liverpool at Anfield, where Los Colchoneros will start with a 1-0 lead.

But Simeone insists his one and only focus is the Sevilla match, knowing victory will move them back into the top four and above Julen Lopetegui's erratic side.

"We do not look five days ahead, only Sevilla," he said. "We have the need to make an important match. Sevilla is strong away from home, signed new players [in January] like Suso that give quality in attack.

"The importance of the match is clear. Sevilla is a dangerous team away from home - they move better with spaces for their fast players in attack. That's where they perform their game best.

"Both matches are important - we are excited. It's a football week, in which we prepare to reach important targets. We have a beautiful battle ahead."

Barcelona know what they want to do with Philippe Coutinho should the attacker return to the club from Bayern Munich.

Coutinho is on a season-long loan at the Bundesliga club, who have an option to buy the Brazil international at the end of the campaign.

But Barca reportedly already have plans in place if the 27-year-old comes back to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAN TO USE COUTINHO AS MAKEWEIGHT IF HE RETURNS

Barcelona will use Coutinho as a makeweight in any of the huge deals they are planning in the close season, according to Sport.

The LaLiga giants are reportedly again targeting Neymar, who was linked with a return but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain last year.

PSG and Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in Coutinho, although Bayern have a €120million option to buy the playmaker.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus' interest in Mauro Icardi is ongoing. CalcioMercato reports Juve still want the forward, who is on loan at PSG from Inter, with the Ligue 1 club holding a €70m purchase option. Goal reports Juventus are also monitoring Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, who has a €50m release clause.

- Linked with a move to Bayern Munich, Leroy Sane may yet remain at Manchester City. The Telegraph reports the attacker, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury, will consider staying at the Premier League club beyond this season.

- Hirving Lozano's Napoli stay may be short-lived. Corriere dello Sport reports Atletico Madrid have their sights set on the Mexico international, who is out of favour under Gennaro Gattuso in his first season at the Serie A club.

- Having dealt with defensive problems this season, Manchester City seemingly have a solution in mind. CalcioMercato reports the Premier League giants are ready to again make a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, a player they have been linked to previously.

- Already up to 15 goals this season, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin appears set to be rewarded for his good form. The Times report the 22-year-old – apparently a target for Manchester United previously – is ready to sign a deal until 2025 with the Premier League club.

- Arsenal have started talks over a move for Feyenoord's 19-year-old playmaker Orkun Kokcu for £23m (€26.5m), according to the Daily Mail.

Neymar is reportedly becoming Barcelona's top target again ahead of next season.

The Brazil international was heavily linked with a return to the LaLiga giants ahead of this season, but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Barca are ready to try to land the forward once more.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR OBJECTIVE NUMBER ONE FOR BARCELONA

Neymar is Barcelona's top priority ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to Sport.

The cover of the Spanish sports daily reads: "Neymar objective number one".

It reports FIFA is also allowing Barcelona to negotiate more strongly with PSG than it did last year.

Neymar has scored 16 goals in 20 games in all competitions for PSG this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying with PSG and L'Equipe reports the Ligue 1 giants will not release France star Kylian Mbappe, or any of their players including Neymar, to play at the Olympics.

- Harry Kane may be sidelined with a hamstring injury, but his career at Tottenham remains a talking point. The Telegraph reports the forward will consider his future with Spurs at the end of the season as they face another campaign without silverware.

- Jadon Sancho continues to star for Borussia Dortmund and the 19-year-old is already up to 17 goals in all competitions this season. Bild reports the asking price for the England international has risen to £122million (€140m), with Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea said to be interested in the attacker.

- Real Madrid, PSG and Chelsea have already made contact with the agent of Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, who says they are ready to offer the 21-year-old an annual salary of €8m.

- Appearing set for a Barcelona exit at the end of the season, Ivan Rakitic recently met with Atletico Madrid representatives, according to Marca.

- With plenty of changes seemingly ahead at Camp Nou, Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are in regular contact with the agency of Ferran Torres, the 20-year-old attacker who has caught the eye at Valencia.

Saul Niguez accepts Atletico Madrid need to find a way to resolve their issues away from home after drawing 1-1 at rock-bottom Espanyol in LaLiga on Sunday.

Saul equalised with a stunning strike at the start of the second half after an early Stefan Savic own goal had put Espanyol in front.

Jan Oblak tipped a Victor Sanchez strike against the crossbar with a fine save to ensure Atletico secured a point.

The result means Atletico have won just one of their past 10 away matches in the league, leaving them well behind Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Niguez says they must raise their game on the road.

"It's taking a lot this year to win away from home," he told Movistar. "The support of our fans at home shows a lot.

"We must learn. The days go by and we must learn that many points can be gathered away from home."

Diego Simeone also addressed Atletico's poor away form, though he seemed relaxed and confident they will turn it around.

"We have to win away from home," he said. "We care about the game we have in the Wanda Metropolitano and then we will take care of winning the games that we have away from home.

"When the matches start, we try to win three points. In these last matches [against Valencia, Granada, Villarreal and Espanyol], we have won two and drawn two.

"We are giving the maximum - we hope it will catch up with us. To enter Champions League or save yourself [from relegation], you need to give everything to compete."

Atletico Madrid could only claim a 1-1 draw away to rock-bottom Espanyol on Sunday, with Saul Niguez's stunning volley sparing them a shock defeat in Barcelona.

Diego Simeone's men had seemingly got somewhere close to their best again over their previous two matches, but at RCDE Stadium they were fortunate to come away with a point, as their underwhelming away form continued having won just one of their past 10 on the road in LaLiga.

A positive Espanyol were good value for the lead when Stefan Savic diverted into his own goal and Jan Oblak's heroics kept Atletico within touching distance when nudging a long-range effort on to the crossbar.

Atletico offered greater enthusiasm going forward after half-time and Saul restored parity with a ferocious volley, securing a share of the spoils as neither side managed to get a second in the end-to-end latter stages.

A scrappy opening brought a typically messy opener – Raul de Tomas meeting Wu Lei's low cross and the ball crossed the line via a touch off Savic.

Atletico failed to offer much of a response and were fortunate to not fall further behind just past the half-hour mark, with Victor Sanchez's stunning 30-yard volley tipped on to the bar by Oblak.

The Atletico goalkeeper made an important intervention just before half-time as well, getting down to parry Adrian Embarba's awkward free-kick away.

Espanyol were made to rue not adding to their lead as Atletico levelled early in the second half – Saul unleashing a rasping volley into the right side of the net from 25 yards after the hosts cleared a corner.

Joao Felix was introduced a few moments later and he swiftly made an impact, as his low cross was deflected on the post, with Alvaro Morata also hitting the upright from a yard out in the ensuing scramble.

A final chance fell to Espanyol late on, but Bernardo Espinosa headed wide as Atletico held on to the point that moves them back up to fourth ahead of Real Sociedad.

 

What does it mean? Atletico unconvincing again

A 3-1 win over Villarreal last time out had followed Atletico's commendable 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League. In this contest, as firm favourites, they struggled to break Espanyol down and only sealed a point because of a moment of individual inspiration.

Given how Simeone's Atletico have crafted a reputation as fighters over the past nine years or so, their troubles on the road are becoming alarming.

Partey puts his foot in

This was not a match dominated by displays of individual quality, with Saul's volley one of few such highlights. No, those who stood out the most were those who offered industry and defensive nous, with Thomas Partey chief among them. The Atletico midfielder made six tackles, more than anyone else on the pitch, as he helped the visitors backline when in trouble.

Carrasco creates little

Given how the two teams play, this was never likely to be an open encounter, but the lack of creativity – particularly on Atletico's part – was disappointing. Yannick Carrasco offered very little before his withdrawal for Joao Felix, who did look brighter. The Belgian played just one key pass.

What's next?

Atletico have a big game on Saturday, as they welcome top-four rivals Sevilla to the Wanda Metropolitano for a fixture that is often a feisty affair. Espanyol go to Pamplona to face Osasuna the following day.

While all eyes are on El Clasico, Real Madrid and Barcelona are considering their number nine options ahead of next season.

The LaLiga giants, who meet at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, appear set to strengthen their options up front ahead of 2020-21.

And both Madrid and Barca are linked with similar names as they look to add forwards.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID, BARCELONA CONSIDER WERNER, MARTINEZ AND HAALAND

With Luka Jovic so far unable to make an impact at Real Madrid, they are considering Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, according to Marca.

Haaland is top of Madrid's wish list, the report says, having scored 12 goals in nine games since arriving at Dortmund in January.

For Barcelona, meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo says their focus is on Martinez or Werner, who has been linked with Liverpool.

While Martinez may be their preference, Werner would cost just €60million compared to the €111m likely to be needed for the Argentina international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another club likely to be busy during the close season are Manchester United. The Sun reports United are ready to offer Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish £150,000 per week – triple his current pay.

- Jonathan David's prolific season with Gent is leading to increasing interest. The Daily Express reports Chelsea are the latest club to join the race for David, who has 23 goals in 38 games this season. Liverpool, United, Tottenham and Leicester City are also reportedly interested in the 20-year-old Canada international.

- Nuno Espirito Santo's work at Wolves is catching the eye. The Sun reports Nuno is top of Atletico Madrid's list to replace Diego Simeone if the Argentinian takes over at Paris Saint-Germain.

- Heavily linked with a move to Milan last close season, Atletico Madrid attacker Angel Correa remains a target for the Serie A club, according to CalcioMercato.

- Having impressed in Serie A, Chris Smalling could be set for a return to the Premier League. The Daily Express reports the defender, who is on loan at Roma from Manchester United, is a target for Tottenham, although the Serie A club are in advanced talks with the centre-back.

- With his contract expiring in 2021, Arkadiusz Milik's future at Napoli is uncertain. CalcioMercato reports the striker, who has 12 goals in 22 games this season, and the club are distant over a new deal.

Diego Simeone was happy with the way Atletico Madrid stuck together following a tough January, claiming all teams have to weather difficult periods.

Atleti endured a five-match winless run in all competitions between January 12 and February 1, a stretch that was bookended by derby defeats to Real Madrid.

However, Simeone remained in charge and his side are unbeaten in four since, enjoying three victories - including a 1-0 defeat of Liverpool in their Champions League last-16 first leg.

The Atleti coach was not looking for excuses as he reflected on the team's previous struggles on Saturday, although he suggested such spells were to be expected.

"When you are planning a new season, you know there might be difficult and complex times like the ones we've been through," Simeone told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Espanyol.

"For every team, there is a different part of the season where, because of injuries or bad results, they are in a difficult moment.

"I know it is just a phase of the season. We have to keep the balance and strength, be patient and hold together during those bad moments."

This week's opponents Espanyol are bottom of LaLiga, but Simeone is expecting a tough test for fourth-place Atleti.

"We are fighting for different objectives but a victory is important for both teams," he said. "When it comes to this part of the season, the needs are very important for both teams.

"I know it will be an intense, hard match, with a lot of contact in the midfield. The little details will decide which way the match goes."

Atleti's game is not the only clash between sides from Madrid and Barcelona this weekend, with El Clasico kicking off five hours later on Sunday.

However, with both Madrid and Barcelona well clear of third place, Simeone insists he has no interest in the match as his sole focus is on Espanyol.

"I don't even think about it," he said. "We're only thinking about our game against Espanyol and about our job, which is La Liga and getting the points we need."

If you want to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, prepare to splash the cash.

Koulibaly is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe and clubs are expected to come calling at the end of the season.

Teams from Spain, England, Germany and France are queuing up.

 

TOP STORY – NAPOLI SET KOULIBALY FEE

Napoli are ready to accept €99million (£85m) for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Koulibaly is reportedly wanted by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is apparently unwilling to accept anything less than the price mentioned.

 

ROUND-UP

United are monitoring Fiorentina and Italy star Federico Chiesa, reports the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old winger has previously been linked to Juventus and Inter.

- Calciomercato journalist Fabrizio Romano says Juventus are set to meet with striker Gonzalo Higuain to discuss his future in Turin. The 32-year-old is out of contract in 2021.

- The Suns says Arsenal's Europa League exit has jeopardised their transfer plans. Mikel Arteta and the Gunners had reportedly lined up moves for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah and Gent striker Jonathan David. However, the loss of income could damage Arsenal's plans.

- Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli is being pursued by Serie A rivals Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing a surprise swoop for Chelsea's Willian, claims Tuttomercatoweb. Willian will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Brazilian is yet to recommit to Chelsea. Barcelona, Tottenham and Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow have been credited with an interest.

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.

Atletico Madrid captain Koke said Joao Felix can fulfil his enormous potential if he listens to Diego Simeone and his team-mates after making a goalscoring return from injury.

Joao Felix had been sidelined since January due to a muscle injury but Atletico's record signing came off the bench and scored in Sunday's 3-1 LaLiga victory over Villarreal.

The 20-year-old attacker arrived from Benfica in a €126million deal at the start of the season and has scored five goals across all competitions.

"Everyone can see what is expected of Joao, he's a young boy and he has lots of room for improvement," Koke said post-match.

"Many great players have had to adapt to Atletico and it's not easy, he's young.

"If he listens to the boss and his team-mates, he will be the player that everyone wants to see.

"He's not been lucky with injuries, but I'm sure that, in the future, we'll see the Joao we want to see."

Atletico came from behind in the Spanish capital, where Simeone's side trailed to Paco Alcacer's 16th-minute opener at Wanda Metropolitano.

Angel Correa, Koke and Joao Felix led the comeback as Atletico moved up to third in LaLiga, behind leaders Barcelona and city rivals Real Madrid.

"Speaking about Koke, our captain, our talisman and one of our longest-serving players [with] Saul [Niguez], [Jose] Gimenez, Thomas [Partey]," Simeone said.

"He knows what we're looking for, a tactical condition that lots of players don't have and a pass that seems slow but he knows where he is.

"He can play on the right, in the middle. He and Saul are the ones who can play in any position."

Simeone paired Correa with Alvaro Morata up front and the Atletico head coach added: "The two worked very well, they have lots of strength in their feet to go out and press people. Morata did a very good job and Correa is in fantastic form. We're very happy with the competition for places.

"The return of [Kieran] Trippier, Joao Felix... [Yannick] Carrasco is getting better, [Sime Vrsaljko] is very strong, Vitolo had a great game and the substitutes brought fresh legs."

Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Villarreal 3-1 and move into third place in LaLiga, with Joao Felix scoring on his return from injury.

Suspended head coach Diego Simeone watched on from the stands as his players took full advantage of Getafe's 3-0 home defeat to Sevilla earlier on Sunday.

Goals from Angel Correa and Koke turned the game in Atletico's favour at the Wanda Metropolitano, cancelling out Paco Alcacer's first-half opener for the visitors.

A satisfying outing for the hosts was rounded off by a goal from Joao Felix, who found the net just 17 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Fresh from a Champions League win over Liverpool in midweek, Atletico dominated the opening 15 minutes but were powerless to stop Alcacer's rasping half-volley from the edge of the box, the attempt flying into the net beyond Jan Oblak at full stretch.

Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo made a superb double save to keep out a fierce volley from Alvaro Morata at first, followed by Vitolo's header from the rebound.

The visitors rediscovered their composure until the 40th minute when Raul Albiol inexplicably headed the ball to the feet of Sime Vrsaljko, allowing the full-back to lift the ball towards Correa, who poked a volley under the body of Asenjo to pull the hosts level.

Atletico sent on Kieran Trippier and Joao Felix – the duo back in action after recovering from injuries - to try and exploit the gaps appearing in the Villarreal defence, with both players making an impact.

Trippier broke down the Atletico right before cutting the ball back to Correa, whose floated cross was headed home by Koke after the captain arrived unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.

Joao Felix wrapped up the victory, albeit his drive was aided by a deflection to beat Asenjo, as the 20-year-old scored his third league goal of an up-and-down debut campaign in Spain.

Virgil van Dijk put Liverpool's 1-0 Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid down to bad luck and warned the Spanish club there is still another 90 minutes of the last-16 tie to play.

Saul Niguez's early strike in Tuesday's Champions League clash gave Atletico a slender lead to take into the return fixture against holders Liverpool at Anfield on March 11.

Saul poked home from close range with four minutes played after a corner fell kindly into his path and Diego Simeone's Atletico kept their advantage intact in Madrid.

Reigning champions Liverpool dominated possession in the Spanish capital but failed to register a single attempt on target, with Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson squandering their best chances.

Despite the defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano, however, defender Van Dijk is remaining upbeat ahead of the second leg in a little over three weeks' time.

"We conceded the goal from the corner, first chance for them, not even a chance. Bit of luck," he told BT Sport.

"The message at half-time was to keep playing. We had the ball most of the game but unfortunately could not create massive opportunities. We still have another 90 minutes to set it right.

"It is the way they play. It is a bit of the Spanish football as well and you have to adapt but we knew it and I feel we handled it pretty well."

Echoing his team-mate's views, full-back Andy Robertson felt the wild celebrations in the stands at full-time were premature given Liverpool's impressive home record.

"We put in a decent performance and we know we can be better. We've got a second leg to put it right," Robertson said.

"They celebrated as if they won the tie after the game. They are coming to Anfield and we know our fans will be there.

"We gave them the best possible start and that get the fans behind them and then they start falling over and getting under the skin a bit."

Pep Guardiola's future at Manchester City continues to dominate discussions – and it seemingly still remains unclear.

Talk around the Spaniard has intensified after City were handed a two-season Champions League ban by UEFA for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play rules, although they deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal.

But will Guardiola, who is contracted at the Etihad Stadium until 2021, stay or go?

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA TO STAY AT MAN CITY DESPITE BAN

Guardiola will remain at City next season whether they have their ban overturned or not, according to the Mirror.

However, Tuttosport reports the chances of the former Barcelona head coach leaving City are "70 per cent".

Guardiola has reportedly suggested previously he intends to honour his contract at City.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are making their move for Jadon Sancho. France Football reports the Premier League club have started talks with the Borussia Dortmund star, who has attracted interest from numerous European giants, including Manchester United.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are set to pay £23million (€27.7m) for Inter midfielder Matias Vecino at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

- After strong links during the close season, Bayern Munich's interest in Manchester City attacker Leroy Sane has cooled, according to Kicker. Sane tore his anterior cruciate ligament in August.

- Staying at Bayern and Kicker reports the Bundesliga giants are keeping tabs on Liverpool's interest in RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. Werner has been linked with the European giants after scoring 20 goals in 22 Bundesliga games this season.

- Alexander Isak's form for Real Sociedad this season is leading to interest, but Mundo Deportivo reports clubs wanting the forward at the end of the campaign must pay €70m. Former club Borussia Dortmund reportedly have an option to buy Isak for €30m, but that only comes into play in 2021.

- Real Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu has impressed this season and the 20-year-old is on Atletico Madrid's radar, according to Marca.

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