Liverpool cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League by exacting revenge on 10-man Atletico Madrid to win 2-0 at Anfield on Wednesday and qualify with two games to spare.

Goals inside the first 21 minutes from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane gave the Spanish champions a mountain to climb even before Felipe was sent off before half-time for a cynical hack on Mane.

Maximum points from four games is enough to win Liverpool Group B and guarantee home advantage in the second leg of their last-16 tie come the new year.

The Reds are now unbeaten in 25 games in all competitions stretching back to the end of last season, matching a club record.

And four straight victories to obliterate what on paper looked a tough group alongside Porto and AC Milan has sent out a warning that the 2019 winners are back among the contenders to win the Champions League.

Atletico on the other hand have a battle to reach the knockout stages as they sit third, one point behind Porto with two games to play.

Earlier on in Group B, AC Milan got their first point of the Champions League campaign after battling to a 1-1 draw with Porto.

The visitors were the better side, particularly in the first half and deserved their early lead, which came courtesy of Colombian winger Luis Diaz.

Chancel Mbemba was unfortunate to see his effort go into his own net to gift the Italians a point but without a realistic chance of qualification.

In Spain, Karim Benzema scored twice as a below-par Real Madrid did just enough to beat Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday and move within sight of the Champions League last 16.

Benzema’s opener made Madrid the first club to score 1000 goals in the European Cup but this was far from a vintage performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who were frequently whistled by the home fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Shakhtar struck a deserved equaliser towards the end of a shoddy first half only for Benzema to score a second for a 2-1 win, with both of his goals set up by the in-form Vinicius Junior.

A second victory over Shakhtar in as many weeks has restored Madrid’s control over Group D after the shock defeat by Sheriff in September briefly dragged them into the pack.


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