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Morata and Joao Felix could miss out on starting XI when Champions League returns

  /  autty

Koke and Saul Niguez are certain starters in Atletico Madrid's midfield, but with Thomas Partey doubtful for the Champions League quarter-final clash against RB Leipzig, Diego Simeone still has to choose up to four more offensive players to complete his starting XI.

There are six players that are fighting for a place in Simeone's starting line-up and, although squad rotation was paramount for Atletico in LaLiga Santander following the restart, everyone will want to be among the starters for these important fixtures in the Champions League, which will be played from the quarter-finals onwards in Lisbon.

The 11 games that Atletico played following the restart saw two players that weren't in Simeone's initial thoughts becoming extremely important players for Atletico: Yannick Carrasco and Marcos Llorente.

The two players are now the favourites to start on the wings for Atletico, with Llorente being able to serve as a second striker if needed.

Llorente has also proved that he is able to perform in big games, something that he has already shown at both Camp Nou and Anfield this season, while he finished the domestic season with five goals and five assists.

Both Carrasco and Llorente have also surpassed the likes of Vitolo and Thomas Lemar in the pecking order at Atletico, which was something that was not foreseen prior to the postponement of LaLiga Santander back in March.

Now, it seems unlikely that Vitolo and Lemar will be part of Simeone's thoughts for the Champions League.

The players that normally occupied the starting positions in the league were the attacking trident of Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Joao Felix, with the skilful Correa often rotating with one of the these three.

But who will be the lucky four attacking players that will get the nod for the exciting tie against RB Leipzig?

Whenever Diego Costa has been fit, he has always been Simeone's first-choice striker, even during the game at Anfield against Liverpool when he'd not long recovered from a hernia operation.

Since the restart, he has scored three goals and shown that he is back to his best since his return from Chelsea as he seems to have reclaimed his place in the starting line-up.

Despite being the top scorer for Atletico this season with 16 goals, Morata may have to miss out on a start due to Costa's hot vein of form.

Correa and Joao Felix are the other players that complete this fascinating battle for a place in the starting line-up.

Following his big-money move last summer, Joao Felix should be the one to claim that final starting line-up birth, however Correa is a man that Simeone has trusted because of what he brings in both attack and defence and it would be no surprise if the Argentine starts.

However, there are still plenty of training sessions for Diego Simeone to decide which players will start as they plan to go further than they ever have before in the Champions League.