Atletico Madrid were crowned winners of the Audi Cup after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory over a much changed Liverpool at the Allianz Arena.
Diego Simeone’s side had led the majority of the game courtesy of Keidi Bare’s first-half opener, but Liverpool levelled in the closing stages when Divock Origi won a dubious penalty, which Roberto Firmino coolly dispatched to set up a shoot-out.
Unfortunately, for the Reds, Jordan Henderson wasn't quite as composed in the shoot-out and it was his miss which proved costly as Atletico celebrated success.
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Having thrashed Bayern Munich 3-0 only 24 hours earlier, Jurgen Klopp opted to rest a number of key players, including Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah, and his second string lacked the creative spark needed to break down a stubborn Atletico defence. When an opportunity did open up, Dominic Solanke fluffed his lines as he glanced a header wide of the post from a few yards out.
Liverpool gegen Atletico beim Audi Cup
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And it was Atletico who broke the deadlock with their first attempt at goal - Danny Ward produced a world-class stop to deny Angel Correa, but Bare was first to react and nodded home the rebound after 33 minutes.
Liverpool made no fewer than six changes at the interval, but the substitutes struggled to make an impact on the game as Atletico were back to their best defensively. But then Origi went down dramatically in the Atletico box and the referee signalled for a penalty, with Firmino making no mistake from the spot. In the end, though, it counted for little as Atletico claimed the win.
The Reds will look to end their pre-season on a high with a friendly against Athletic Bilbao in Dublin on Saturday before their Premier League campaign kicks off at Watford on August 12.
Toothless Liverpool: Having displayed an electric and thoroughly exciting performance against Bayern Munich, Liverpool produced the exact opposite here. The Reds didn’t move the ball quickly enough and struggled to get any change from a stubborn Atletico defence. They really missed the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah – and it begs the question: is their squad big enough to challenge for the Premier League should key players leave or pick up injuries?
Atlético de Madrid
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MAN OF THE MATCH
Danny Ward (Liverpool): The Welshman produced a thrilling performance which will make his manager sit up and take notice. Will he start against Watford on the opening day? This display will have done his chances absolutely no harm.
Atletico Madrid: Moyá 7, Vrsaljko 7, Giméne 7z, Lucas 7, Sergi 7, Kranevitter 6, Augusto 6, Thomas 6, Keidi 7, Correa, Vietto 7. Subs: Savic 5, Juanfran 5, Filipe 7, Gabi 6, Gaitán 5, Torres 5, Griezmann 7, Amath 5.
Liverpool: Ward 8, Flanagan 6, Gomez 6, Klavan 6, Milner 6, Can 6, Wijnaldum 6, Lallana 6, Woodburn 6, Mane 6, Solanke 6. Subs: Firmino 7, Origi 7, Henderson 5, Grujic 6, Robertson 7, Kent 7, Alexander-Arnold 6.
11’ - CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL! The promising Woodburn is allowed space to curl a cross into the penalty area and finding Solanke. However, the forward's header is slightly wide of the target.
14’ - WIDE! That would have been special. Lallana dinks a ball for Woodburn who had picked up space at the back post. The youngster tries a spectacular acrobatic volley, but it ends up closer to the corner flag than goal.
33’ - GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool. Diego Simeone's side score with their first shot on goal. Danny Ward pulls off a remarkable stop as he tips Correa's point-blank header onto the crossbar, but Keidi is quickest to react and nods the ball into an empty net
81’ - PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Origi has been a handful since coming on as a substitute and now he wins a penalty! It's a dubious decision - the Belgian is clipped inside the box but takes an age to go down. Nevertheless, the referee points to the spot.
83’ - GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Atletico Madrid. Firmino coolly dispatches the penalty and the Reds are level.
PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: HENDERSON MISSES! Liverpool 1-1 Atletico Madrid: A poor spot-kick from Henderson is saved by Moya.
PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: It's over - Liverpool 4-5 Atletico Madrid: Luis nets the winning penalty!
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