Atletico Madrid take on Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and there could be a double fitness boost for coach Diego Simeone.
The Spanish giants host the Reds at the Wanda Metropolitano for the first leg of their round-of-16 tie this week, hoping to take an all-important lead to Anfield for the return fixture.
It’s been a problematic campaign for Atleti thus far, as they sit in fourth place in the La Liga table, 13 points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, having won just one of their last five league outings.
Scoring goals has been a clear problem, as they’ve managed just 25 in 24 games, and so Simeone will be desperate for some good news on the injury front in the next 24 hours.
According to Sky Sports, he could get it in the form of Diego Costa, who trained with his teammates on Monday as he stepped up his recovery after undergoing surgery on his back in November.
It remains to be seen if he gets the green light to feature, but ultimately the mere fact that he’s training could be seen as a major boost for Atletico in what promises to be a difficult night.
Further, the report adds that Jose Gimenez, who has also been a doubt due to injury, was on the bench for the game with Valencia on Friday night, and so it’s suggested that the defensive ace could also be in contention to return tomorrow.
That could be pivotal for Simeone at either end of the pitch if he were to get a double injury boost, and it would certainly give Jurgen Klopp something else to think about in his attempts to ensure that the reigning European champions take a positive result back to Merseyside.
That said, Costa has only managed two goals and three assists in 15 games so far this season before his injury, while Gimenez has been limited to 15 appearances too.
That lack of playing time could raise doubts over their fitness levels and their ability to make a positive impact in the first leg at least, but the experience and quality that they possess means Simeone would certainly prefer to have them at his disposal.