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Sport Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: The evolution of Marcos Llorente since the Anfield night that changed his life

11:26  23 february  2021
11:26  23 february  2021 Source:   goal.com

Atletico Madrid heads high after Chelsea loss – Oblak

  Atletico Madrid heads high after Chelsea loss – Oblak Atletico Madrid can still have a great season despite a slender first-leg Champions League loss to Chelsea, says Jan Oblak.Oblak was beaten by OIivier Giroud's magnificent overhead kick in the 68th minute, while his opposite number Edouard Mendy did not have a shot to save over the course of the 90 minutes in Bucharest – Atleti's scheduled home leg having been rearranged to the Romanian capital due to coronavirus restrictions.

Marcos Llorente Moreno (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾkoz ʎoˈɾente moˈɾeno]; born 30 January 1995) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder or second striker for Atlético Madrid .

Two months since Atletico Madrid 's heroics at Anfield : From madness to uncertainty. Atletico Madrid Aquel día los rojiblancos soñaban con ganar todo tras apenar al campeón. Jan Oblak played the match of his life , stopping almost every Liverpool shot, yet it looked like it wouldn't be enough for the visitors as the Reds took a 2-0 lead, which looked to be sending them through to quarter-final stage after extra-time. However, a Marcos Llorente double and an Alvaro Morata goal killed off Liverpool 's hopes of defending their European crown and a new breath of life was sent into Los Rojiblancos' own

Things aren't always as they seem.

a person holding a ball: Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente © Angel Martinez/Getty Images Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente

A tired old cliche it may be, but for Marcos Llorente such a notion is one that ultimately he believes "literally changed my life".

The date was March 11, 2020, back at a time when the world was changing, or about to change, for everyone due to the coronavirus pandemic. For Llorente things changed because of a Diego Simeone masterstroke.

Atletico Madrid were losing 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League last-16 second leg, which left the teams locked at 1-1 on aggregate.

With 56 minutes gone, Llorente entered the fray for Diego Costa. To most observers this was Simeone trying to close the door, put on a defensive-minded midfielder, head to extra time, maybe sneak a goal on the counter or win on penalties.

Atlético regain victory in Granada

 Atlético regain victory in Granada Granada 1-2 Atlético de Madrid Goals: Herrera (66th) for Granada // Llorente (63rd), Vallejo (75th, CSC) for Atlético The success of the champion? To believe the harmless center of Ángel Correa, deflected by the unfortunate Jesús Vallejo in his own nets (1-2, 75th), difficult to think otherwise. It is also this goal that offered victory to Atlético, on the lawn of a catchy Granada.

Atletico Madrid have flown to Bucharest this Sunday, ahead of their Champions League first leg against Chelsea on Tuesday. They've made the trip The complete squad for this game is as follows: Jan Oblak, Ivo Grbic, Miguel San Roman, Renan Lodi, Stefan Savic, Felipe, Mario Hermoso, Alvaro García, Ricard Sanchez, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Lucas Torreira, Koke, Saul, Thomas Lemar, Marcos Llorente , Vitolo, Joao Felix, Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, Moussa Dembele and Sergio Camello.

Atletico Madrid shocked the world on Wednesday evening with a 3-2 victory over Liverpool at Anfield , yet Marcos Llorente 's two goals shouldn't have come as a surprise. Ever since leaving Real Madrid for Atletico , the Spanish midfielder has been working hard on his fitness and has taken care of every single minute detail of his own preparation. Diego Simeone hasn't always counted on Llorente from the start, but he has always been ready to step up at any moment when required, such has been his commitment to fitness and staying locked in.

But it was almost a butterfly-effect moment. Yes, the match did enter additional time, but Llorente – employed in a more attack-minded role – scored twice after Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in front. Alvaro Morata's late third secured Atleti's progression.

"The match at Anfield was a great turning point for my career, indeed it literally changed my life," Llorente said back in November.

"I always say, however, that in football you have to confirm yourself every day. I know that I had a good performance against Liverpool, but the important thing is to maintain this continuity of performance over time. I am succeeding and I am very happy with what I am doing."

Since that night, the forgotten man of Real Madrid has become one of the most important cogss in Simeone's tactical machine, and on Tuesday he returns to the last-16 stage to face more English opposition in Chelsea as a completely different player to the one he was a year ago.

Atletico respond to dip in form with victory at Villarreal

  Atletico respond to dip in form with victory at Villarreal Atletico respond to dip in form with victory at VillarrealDiego Simeone's side were smarting from twin defeats to Levante and Chelsea but went ahead in the 25th minute courtesy of an Alfonso Pedraza own goal following a goalmouth scramble, the strike being flagged offside then given after a VAR review.

Atletico Madrid ’s Marcos Llorente was the hero on the night they knocked holders Liverpool out of the Champions League just before the novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted football and he has been watching repeats of the match during lockdown. Llorente scored for Atletico in the first half of extra A few weeks after knocking out Juergen Klopp’s side, Llorente revealed on his Instagram account that he had named his dog Anfield . The victory over Liverpool was Atletico ’s last match before the Spanish season was postponed due to the pandemic. They returned to individual training in early May and

Since then, Tuchel has won five and drawn two of his seven matches in charge, and Werner has featured heavily for the Blues, even bringing to an end his run of 14 matches in a row without finding the net. This streak was alien to a player who had always found goals easy to come by, ever since Chelsea are now turning their attention to the Champions League, where they will face Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, with the tie taking on a wholly different look to when the draw was made. Tuchel now has the Blues playing a much more vertical, high-intensity brand of football, whilst Atletico will have to

A PLAYER TRANSFORMED


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This season alone has highlighted Llorente's transformation. Among midfielders in LaLiga, only Jose Luis Morales (11) has managed more goals than Llorente (9).

In terms of assists, Llorente (8) ranks only behind Jorge de Frutos for midfielders, while he is just outside the top 10 for chances created from open play (28). Additionally, he is sixth for shots total (36) and third for shots on target (16).

For a direct comparison, in Llorente's final season at Real Madrid in 2018-19, over the course of the entire season he had two goals, zero assists, six chances created from open play, seven shots and four on target.

Llorente's passing success rate in the final third during that campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu is down from 86.17 per cent to 75.37. But he has already had 457 successful passes in the opposition third this term compared to the 281 in the whole of his last at Madrid – showing he is contributing much more frequently further up the pitch.

Tops / Flops Atlético-Chelsea: Giroud’s jewel, Simeone’s tactical choice

 Tops / Flops Atlético-Chelsea: Giroud’s jewel, Simeone’s tactical choice © Panoramic TOPS Tuchel’s tactics paid Thomas Tuchel did not shake for his first real test at the head of Chelsea. And the tactical pattern in 3-4-3 established since his debut on the bench of the Blues has met expectations. Kovacic-Jorginho pair in midfield gave satisfaction, Timo Werner proved to be the main threat on Oblak’s goal and Olivier Giroud perfectly justified the confidence placed in him (see elsewhere).

Atletico Madrid conquer Anfield . Marcos Llorente was the surprise hero for Atletico Madrid , even surprising his girlfriend Patricia Noarbe who was watching on back home. She shared two videos on social media of her reaction to the midfielder's two goals in his side's 3-2 victory at Anfield .

Atletico Madrid are sliding downhill as the season enters its decisive stage. Having picked up 50 of the first 57 points on offer, they've now Either Luis Suarez scores or nothing. Luis Suarez was on fire to start 2021, hitting seven goals in four games. But LaLiga Santander's Pichichi is now enduring his worst drought of the season, going three games without a goal. The last three matchdays have shown that only Marcos Llorente is capable of helping the No.9, and Simeone will hope that Moussa Dembele can chip in too.

Also, over the past two seasons, Llorente has 14 goals despite his expected goals (xG) rating being four. Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer in European football over the past two campaigns, had an xG of 63 and scored 71 (excluding penalties) meaning Llorente's differential was actually higher.

THE INFLUENCER

A dive deeper into the numbers, shows just how influential Llorente has become as an attacking force to Atleti.

His 75 involvements in a sequence ending in a shot is 12th in LaLiga among midfielders but the highest of any Atleti player, with Joao Felix the nearest to him on 64. When looking at involvements in a sequence ending in a goal, Llorente's 20 is the best in the division - three more than Lionel Messi and seven more than the next Atleti player Angel Correa.

Of the sequences ending in a shot, Llorente has started 13 of those attacks - again the highest at Atleti, and the sixth highest among LaLiga midfielders. He has started five sequences that have resulted in a goal for his team, a joint-high with Real Madrid's Casemiro.

He has also had 30 involvements in build-ups ending with a shot, and six ending in a goal – the first a team high and the second beaten only by Thomas Lemar.

Atleti head into the first leg against the Blues top of LaLiga, even though a solitary point from two matches against Levante over the past week has seen their lead over rivals Madrid trimmed to five points.

In Chelsea, Simeone's men face a side aiming to show their rejuvenation under Thomas Tuchel is more than the supposed new-manager bounce.

And for Llorente, it is an opportunity to showcase his evolution since that fateful night at Anfield.

Lemar and Herrera latest Atletico players to test positive for COVID-19 .
After Joao Felix and Moussa Dembele contracted COVID-19 last week, two more Atletico Madrid players have tested positive.Atletico confirmed last week that Joao Felix and new signing Moussa Dembele returned positive test results in consecutive days, ruling them out of Monday's LaLiga visit of Celta Vigo.

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