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'Beating Liverpool is a huge achievement' - Trippier beaming after Atletico's victory at Anfield

8:00 PM GMT+8 12/03/2020
Kieran Tripper, Sadio Mane, Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid
The former Spurs man has his eyes set on Euro 2020 with England and beating the European champions could go some way to securing his spot

Kieran Trippier reflected on “a huge achievement” from Atletico Madrid as they dumped Champions League holders Liverpool out in their last-16 tie.

Diego Simeone’s side withstood an Anfield storm to book their place in the quarter-finals after a thrilling extra-time win on Wednesday night. 

Atletico trailed 2-1 on aggregate at one stage, but profited from an error by Reds goalkeeper Adrian to net a priceless away goal and then, through substitutes Marcos Llorente and Alvaro Morata, punished Liverpool the counter attack to record a 3-2 win on the night, and a 4-2 aggregate success.

It was a big win for the Liga side, whose form this season has been patchy. And afterwards a beaming Trippier was able to put it in perspective.

“It is a huge achievement, you know,” the England international said. “You have seen how difficult they have made it for teams here - I don't think they have lost at home in Europe for years.

“To come here and defend like we did at Anfield... we knew it would be very difficult because of the occasion and the fans, etc. 

“I thought we had that never-say-attitude even when we went 1-0 down and we knew we just needed to score once and get that away goal. But to score three here was an amazing feeling.”

Trippier added: “Obviously we knew that Liverpool were going to be very, very offensive at home. We just knew we had to stay compact, keep our shape, like we've been doing in training all week, and then try and frustrate them as much as we can.

“[We had to] keep our shape, keep defensively strong and try to be clinical in the right moments because you don't get many chances here and I thought the substitutes had a huge impact. They are so important. They need to be ready and at this club everybody gives 100 per cent.”

Tripper, wisely, stopped short of discussing the possibility of Atletico winning the tournament. The Spaniards have been beaten finalists twice in the last six years, and clearly have in Simeone a coach capable of upsetting any of Europe’s big boys.

“You have seen over many years how strong Atletico are,” Trippier said. “I've been here seven months and I've never seen anything like it, to be honest with you. 

“Starting from Diego Simeone - everyone feeds off him - he's an unbelievable manager. I can't really explain how good it is here. It's just an unbelievable feeling and I'm proud to be part of this team.

“[But] let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. There are so many difficult teams left in it, we just want to take it a game at a time. We've still got important games left in La Liga and let's see who we draw next. It's a very difficult competition to win.”

As for his own future, Trippier hopes his performances for Atletico can help force him back into the international picture with England.

The 29-year-old was a starter under Gareth Southgate at the World Cup in Russia two years ago, but with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Reece James all vying for the right-back spot, the former Tottenham man knows he has a big fight on his hands if he wants to feature at Euro 2020.

“I knew when I left Tottenham and I hadn't been picked for the Nations League last summer that I had to perform better,” Trippier said. “I've had plenty of chats about that with the staff at England. 

“I want to play at the highest level for as long as I can in order to play for England. That's my objective. There is no bigger moment for me than representing my country. I just need to perform well, I know what I need to do, because there are so many right-backs know. 

“There are about six right-backs and they are all playing at the highest level. I just need to focus on myself.

“[Moving to Atletico] is a big change, different culture, different types of football, but I am loving every minute of it and hopefully my performances for Atletico can keep me in the England squad.”