Liverpool have been here before in the Wanda Metropolitano; joyous scenes of fans draped in red and white singing Allez Allez Allez at full time.

But unlike June's historic sixth European Cup crown at this very venue, it was not those of a Liverpool faith who were cheering at the final whistle.

Instead, it was Diego Simeone and his streetwise Atletico Madrid players. The Argentinean firebrand rolled back the years to produce a comprehensive shutdown of a Reds team who usually maraud freely as arguably the world's best.

Rarely have the Reds been so clinically stifled in a season that has seen them become world champions en route to a 25-point lead at the Premier League's summit. Simeone may have a clutch of managers from England's top flight calling him on Wednesday morning asking for his secrets.

It just isn't supposed to be like this anymore for Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool squad. The team who always find a way to beat you usually probe and poke and prod until the winning sequence is found. Here though, against Simeone and his Los Rojiblancos, they were schooled. Out-thought, if not out-fought, the senior Reds were handed just their second defeat of the campaign.

After what is shaping up to be one of the very best seasons in Anfield history right now, it would churlish in the extreme to find too much by the way of fault in Klopp and his players, but there can be no denying they failed to sparkle when back at the setting of their finest hour under his four-year guidance.

It leaves their defence of the Champions League now hanging precariously as Atleti get set to suffocate proceedings once more when they arrive on Merseyside for the second leg. Make no mistake, Simeone will concoct a plot to do just that when they jet into Liverpool next month.

But - and it could be a rather sizable but - Liverpool will have the power of Anfield on their side as they aim to overturn a single-goal deficit against a team who take so much pride in digging in and defending for their lives.

If that famous old venue can stir Liverpool to a 4-0 win over Barcelona, then it can again use its magic just so when Simeone's men visit.

The hosts had the lead inside five minutes when Saul Niguez pounced on a loose ball as Liverpool failed to clear a corner. The midfielder converted past Alisson Becker to give the hosts the perfect start. The Reds' defending, unusually, was not up to scratch, but it would be incredibly harsh to be overly critical of a backline who had conceded just once in the previous 990 minutes of football prior to kick-off.

It was, however, a nightmare start for the Reds who so easily ceded the initiative to a side who are always much happier to sit in and defend than they are breaking down opposition rearguards themselves. If there was one scenario Klopp would have wanted to avoid, it would have been going an early goal down against a set of players who have turned being resolute into an art form under their leader.

With just the 15 goals shipped all season, domestically, it is easy to see why Atletico are so miserly as they refused to concede an inch to Liverpool, regularly dropping all 11 men behind the ball to disrupt and unbalance.

Liverpool continued to press for the equaliser, though and were the better team in the opening half. In truth, though, they were forced to try and take the bull by the horns after being rocked by the early goal.

That would have been what Simeone dreamed about when he went to sleep on Monday evening and it gave him and his players the chance to throw everyone into a defensive shape and challenge the Reds to solve the red, white and blue rubik's cube.

It would be an equation for which they had no answer as Salah, Mane and Firmino all endured a rare collective off night. No blame can or should be attached to a front three who have blasted Liverpool into such a luxurious position in the football food chain.

Liverpool pressed hard but found clear-cut chances hard to come by against an extraordinarily well-drilled Atleti side. Their best opportunity of the opening half fell to Salah whose shot from around 12 yards was headed behind for a corner.

Atletico ensured they used all the tricks in their book too as a string of players made the maximum of minor collisions to eat away at the clock. Masters of the dark arts, indeed. This type of elite spoiling is nothing new and the Reds' frustrations began to tell. They were suckered in.

Vaunted Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak was not needed in the first half other than to pick the ball out of his own net after Salah scored from an offside position.

After the break, Sadio Mane made way for Divock Origi but it was Salah who has the biggest chance once more early on as he headed Joe Gomez's cross just wide of Oblak's right-hand post.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was summoned for in place of Salah as the histrionics and exaggerations spilled out from several Atletico angles. Chief offender was the shameless Angel Correa who spent more time on the deck than Captain Hook.

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Atletico vs Liverpool matchday

The Reds won't grumble about it. It is nothing new in this competition and such diversionary tactics have become part and parcel of the game on the continent.

The sight of Henderson departing late on with a hamstring just added to the woes on a rare night to forget.

On this evidence, Atletico do not look like a team that is equipped to conquer Anfield in three weeks' time. However, they simply don't have to, and they are probably about as perfectly constructed as possible to withstand the forces that visiting teams bend to when a European Cup knockout tie comes to L4.

All is not lost - this 1-0 defeat is far from fatal - but Anfield will once again be asked to assemble on March 11.