Former Brazil playmaker Rivaldo has had his say on the upcoming Champions League tie between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.
The first leg takes place on February 18 at the Wanda Metropolitano, the scene of Liverpool’s sixth European triumph last June, before the second leg on Merseyside three weeks later.
The sides have previously met twice in Europe, during the 2008/09 Champions League group stages and, most recently, in the Europa League semi finals in 2010, which saw eventual winners Atletico progress on away goals following a 2-2 aggregate result.
Rivaldo, who retired in 2015 aged 42, revealed his expectations to Betfair, stating: “As we all know, Liverpool are currently one of the best teams on the planet.
“But football is tough to preview, and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is a fighter who can get the best from his players against Liverpool next week.”
Rivaldo knows the Champions League well, having made 73 appearances in the competiton for Barcelona, AC Milan and Olympiacos, scoring 27 goals in the process.
He also won the tournament with Milan in 2003 having previously finished as top scorer with ten goals during the 1999/00 season.
“Atleti are underdogs in this tie but they have a chance to recapture their confidence and intensity by eliminating the defending champions,” continued the 1999 Balon d’Or winner, who scored 35 times in 75 caps for the Selecao during his career.
“It would be a perfect way for Simeone to silence his critics but, of course, Liverpool is favourite to go through to the next round.”
Simeone’s Atletico currently lie fourth in La Liga and have not won a trophy since lifting their third Europa League title in 2018.
In contrast, the Reds are the runaway Premier League leaders and are also bidding to become just the third club to lift seven European titles.