Atletico without key players ahead of Chelsea clash

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Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente (2nd L) celebrates after scoring with teammamte Luis Suarez (1st L) during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Atletico Madrid and RB Salzburg in Madrid, Spain, Oct. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Meng Dingbo)

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has problems to resolve ahead of his side's Champions League first leg match against Chelsea on Tuesday.

Atletico is unable to face Chelsea in their Wanda Metropolitano Stadium due to a ban on flights from the UK in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus variants and instead the game will be played in Bucharest, where Atletico won the 2012 Europa League title.

Simeone's side suffered a latest 2-0 defeat at home to Levante which saw their lead at the top of the Liga Santander cut to just three points and highlighted the issues that injuries are currently causing the squad.

Atletico traveled without suspended right-back Kieran Trippier, while injury to Sime Vrsaljko means they remain without a specialist in that position.

Simeone has tried to resolve that problem by using Marcos Llorente as a wing-back and playing three central defenders, but that has reduced Llorente's effectiveness pushing forward, while the three central defenders have not looked comfortable.

Jose Gimenez hasn't traveled after picking up a muscle issue on Saturday, while Yannick Carrasco is injured and midfielder Hector Herrera is still out with COVID-19.

Meanwhile Saul Niguez and Stefan Savic both return after missing out at the weekend through suspension and Saul could be used as a makeshift right back.

Chelsea travels in an excellent moment of form and is unbeaten in their seven games since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager and the goal they conceded in Saturday's 1-1 draw away to Southampton was only the second they have conceded since the former Paris Saint Germain boss took the helm.

Central defender Thiago Silva is a doubt for Chelsea, while Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are both doubts, but could be on the subs' bench for the game, while Tammy Abraham has recovered from a slight ankle injury and will lead the attack along with Timo Werner, who left RB Leipzig just before the German side knocked Atletico out of Europe last season. 

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