Atletico train for Madrid derby as La Liga title race takes decisive turn

Luis Suarez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and RC Celta at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on February 08, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Atletico Madrid will aim to move eight points clear of Real Madrid in a much-anticipated derby on Sunday that could go a long way to deciding La Liga's title race.

Atletico sit five points ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, with a game in hand over both.

After consecutive slip-ups against Levante last month and then a Champions League loss against Chelsea, Atletico suddenly looked vulnerable to the resurgent chasing pack.

But a hard-fought win over Villarreal last weekend steadied the ship while Real Madrid surrendering two points at home to Real Sociedad delivered an unexpected boost, shifting the momentum again ahead of the duel between first and third.

Atletico were beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid back in December, their one loss sandwiched between 15 league victories as Diego Simeone's team paid the price for a hesitant performance at Valdebebas.

A similarly reactive display prompted the defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League.

Whether Atletico are given the license to attack Madrid and have the belief they can beat them could be crucial to their chances of taking a huge step towards winning their first league title since 2014.

"We want to show why we're top of the league," Luis Suarez told La Liga TV this week. "This is a very ambitious team."

Suarez has scored 16 goals already this season but has gone four games now without scoring, even if the Uruguayan will be among those happiest to see the return of Kieran Trippier on the right.

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