They have lost as many games (four) as Barcelona, who were only a point from the summit, but they have been undone by their ten draws.
It has been a tricky start to 2020, with only two wins under their belt thus far.
But they are sure to raise the game for the visit of the holders.
It is a team that will be somewhat unfamiliar to many English observers after the departure of a number of stalwarts, including Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Antoine Griezmann in the past 12 months.
Here's a look at how they might shape-up...
GK: Jan Oblak
This tie sees a duel between arguably the two best goalkeepers on the planet: Alisson Becker and Jan Oblak.
Oblak has made 240 appearances for Atletico since his arrival in 2014, keeping a mighty 132 clean sheets in that time. He has been named the best goalkeeper in the Spanish top-flight for the past four seasons.
RB: Santiago Arias
With former Spurs man Kieran Trippier injured, Arias is likely to get the nod over Sime Vrsaljko on the right-hand side of the defence.
He has made 11 appearances this season, making two Champions League starts.
He may be 30 years old, but this is only Felipe's fourth season playing in Europe.
The Brazilian joined Porto from Corinthians from 2016 and spent three seasons as an ever-present in their defence before joining Atletico last summer.
Selected in five of the six group-stage games, he has been Simeone's most trusted centre-half so far this season.
CB: Jose Maria Gimenez
Gimenez could be a more familiar in the name on the teamsheet, having partnered Godin for a number of years.
He has tasted misery and glory in Europe, twice coming up short in the Champions League final before success in the Europa League and Super Cup.
He appears his compatriot's natural heir, but muscular injuries have restricted his involvement up to this point. A return to the bench for Friday's draw with Valencia confirms that he is in back in contention for this one.
Simeone will call upon Stefan Savic or Mario Hermoso if Gimenez is deemed unready.
LB: Renan Lodi
21-year-old Lodi, a product of Athletico Paranaense, looks to be a bargain at £18million.
The Brazilian has racked up more than 2,000 minutes in his first season at Atletico and could well occupy the left-back spot there for a number of years.
He is a nailed-on inclusion on Tuesday's team sheet.
RM: Saul Niguez
Pricetags approaching three figures have scuppered moves for a player vital to Atletico.
Saul only turned 25 in the autumn but already he is closing in on 300 appearances for the club.
He is not a midfielder who specialises in goalscoring, or indeed assisting, but his defensive application is relentless.
CM: Thomas Partey
26-year-old Thomas is also a shoo-in and will be at the heart of Atletico's efforts to dictate the game and frustrate Liverpool.
He has played 31 matches already this season, a tally exceeded by only Oblak and Saul.
The 26-year-old is another who has attracted plenty of interest.
CM: Marcos Llorente
In the absence of Hector Herrera, Marcos Llorente is likely to join Thomas in the middle of the park.
The outstanding detail here is that he joined Atletico directly from their city rivals Real Madrid for a fee of £35million.
This has proven a surprisingly common phenomenon, with Alvaro Morata and Thibaut Courtois also representing both clubs in recent years.
Llorente's arrival facilitated Rodri's move to Manchester City.
The midfield will be completed by the supremely versatile Koke.
His preferred position looks to be right midfield, but he has played centrally or on the left just as often this season.
Koke, a club legend in the making, has 44 caps for Spain.
ST: Angel Correa
Simeone is short of options upfront, with Diego Costa a doubt and record signing Joao Felix out through illness.
Correa is battling with Vitolo for a striking spot, and may just have the edge given his superior goal return.
Simeone will surely want his depleted attack to retain as much firepower as possible, and Correa has struck six in all competitions relative to Vitolo's two.
He can also drop deeper and create, having laid-on seven assists in 19/20.
ST: Alvaro Morata
It was a difficult spell at Chelsea for Morata, but he has enjoyed an upturn in form having returned to Spain. He is Atletico's leading scorer with 10 in all competitions.
Morata is another who has been sidelined recently, but he was back in the squad against Valencia and played 25 minutes as a substitute. He should be ready.
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