Atalanta STUNS Liverpool At Anfield Following A 3-0 Defeat In The Quarter-Final First Leg Europa League Tie.

Liverpool endured a humbling Thursday night in the quarter-final first leg Europa League game after Serie A's sixth-placed Atalanta left Anfield with a massive 3-0 victory, as they now face a huge battle to remain in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp who made six changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Manchester United on Sunday, has enjoyed some incredible European nights under the lights at Anfield during his nine years in charge.

But this could well be the last time he experiences a European home game after his side were a poor second-best to a clinical Atalanta, whose players and management team celebrated in front of their jubilant travelling fans long after the final whistle.

The Reds were indebted to their goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the first half for a string of superb stops, including one with his face, but he could do nothing about the onslaught that followed.

Atalanta had almost got in front early on when finding Mario Pašalić inside the box, only to be denied by the head of the on-rushing Kelleher.

Darwin Núñez should have also given the Reds ahead when he was unlocked into space by Curtis Jones, but the Uruguay international got the finish all wrong when placing his effort off target.

Harvey Elliot also struck the woodwork with a wonderful effort.

La Dea's man-marking system continued to cause problems for Liverpool, and they eventually got their reward in the 38th minute when former Chelsea defender Davide Zappacosta's cross found former West Ham forward Gianluca Scamacca, who peeled off Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk centrally, applying a cool first-time finish that went in off the hands of Kelleher. 

However, the Liverpool goalkeeper atoned for his error earlier on to stop the unmarked Teun Koopmeiners close-range shot and preventing his side going in 2-0 down at the break.

In the second half, Liverpool showed signs of life, as talisman Mohamed Salah, who was introduced as part of a triple substitution alongside Dominik Szoboszlai and Andy Robertson.

Mo Salah forced a stop from Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso before Núñez couldn't redeem himself for his earlier miss when hitting off target again.

Liverpool got less and less convincing, as if Klopp's substitutes making them worse, not better.

Gian Piero Gasperini who has been manager of Atalanta since 2016, his side were by far the better, more assured, and they deservedly doubled their lead when Scamacca – who had just one season at West Ham before joining Atalanta last August – took advantage of being left unmarked and side-footed home a terrific cross from Charles De Ketelaere in the 60th minute to the shock and dismay of the Anfield crowd.

Liverpool looked lost as they tried to pull one back, with their celebrations at reducing the deficit in the 79th minute short-lived as Salah strayed offside from Robertson's pass.

The Reds were flat and lacked urgency in their play and were further punished for some dreadful defending.

Mario Pasalic added a late third goal in the 83rd-minute after Brazilian midfielder Ederson was afforded too much space to shoot and, when Kelleher made a save, but the Croatian and Ex-Chelsea player Pasalic snapped up the rebound to score.


Furious Klopp bellowed and waved his arms as he called on fans to lift the flat Anfield atmosphere, he looked bewildered at the final whistle after seeing his side comprehensively beaten by Atalanta, who sit sixth in Serie A and trail leaders Inter Milan by 32 points.

It was Liverpool’s first defeat in 14 months at Anfield since losing 5-2 to Real Madrid in the Champions League in February 2023, ending a 33-game unbeaten run.


Speaking after the game, Klopp said: "We played a bad game. We deserved to lose. We must feel that now. But the boys have only this night to feel bad about it, then we have to build up again.

"Really well done Atalanta, that's it. They are causing many teams problems. Man-marking is uncomfortable when you are not on top of your game. They defended us. We suffered from their way.

"When you lose a game then your changes are questionable, I get that 100 per cent. I would do it the exact same way again. We have to make changes if we want to be good for the rest of the season.

"I am responsible for this result, I know that. But the decisions I would probably take again."

Klopp insisted that there was no need to panic after Sunday's dreadful draw at Man United - but what about now? Liverpool's bid to win the Premier League may not have been dealt a fatal blow at Old Trafford but their Europa League hopes looks over.

From a potential quadruple in his final season, to potentially just a Carabao Cup, which only strengthens the suspicion that the Reds are running out of steam at precisely the wrong time.

The Italians are now strong favourites to reach the semi-finals when the sides meet in next Thursday’s return in Bergamo.

The winners of this tie will face Benfica or Marseille in the semi-finals, with Benfica establishing a 2-1 first-leg advantage to take to France next week.

Liverpool host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, kick-off 2pm. They then travel to Italy for the second leg of the quarter-final next Thursday, kick-off 8pm.

Atalanta on the other hand, will have more than 24 hours less rest ahead of the return leg, with a Serie A home game against Verona on Monday to contend with first, kick-off 7.45pm.

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