Liverpool 0-3 Atalanta: Spirited Italians Silence Anfield In UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final

Liverpool Disappointed After Atalanta Defeat
Liverpool Disappointed After Atalanta Defeat

Premier League powerhouse Liverpool welcomed Serie A side Atalanta to Anfield for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash on Thursday night (April 11). Atalanta’s giant-killing abilities are well-documented, but no one expected them to trouble the Reds, at least not at Anfield. However, against all odds, Gian Piero Gasperini came out swinging and on top, securing an emphatic 3-0 win over the mighty Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League first leg.

A Fairly Even First Half At Anfield

Jurgen Klopp left four of his first-XI regulars — Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Andy Robertson — on the bench at kick-off. But it did not take long for the German to realize that he had not made the smartest decision. Just three minutes in, Gianluca Scamacca pulled the ball back to Mario Pasalic, who went for goal from six yards out. Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher leaped to his left and somehow kept out his shot from the side of his face.

Liverpool had an excellent opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the 15th minute, as Curtis Jones sent Darwin Nunez through on goal. Instead of trying to round the goalkeeper, the Uruguayan tried to chip him, ultimately getting it all wrong and firing wide. In the 26th minute, Harvey Elliott was denied by the bar and then the post, as his curling shot rifled against the bar onto the post and finally away from danger.

Twelve minutes after Elliott’s effort, Atalanta put their noses in front, with Scamacca applying a side-footed finish to send Davide Zappacosta’s low cross into the back of the net. The goalkeeper got a hand to it but he lacked the conviction to keep the ball out.

Liverpool Shellshocked By Ruthless Atalanta In Breathtaking Second Half

In an attempt to regain control, Klopp brought Salah, Robertson, and Szoboszlai off the bench at half time. Unfortunately for the home team, none of the substitutes managed to make the desired impact. After weathering a few Liverpool attacks, Atalanta landed a massive blow on the hour mark, doubling their cushion with a fine strike from Scamacca. The goalscorer was completely unmarked inside the Liverpool area and confidently sent Charles De Ketelaere’s cross into the bottom-right corner with a first-time effort.

The Merseysiders hit the back of the net through Salah in the 79th minute, but the linesman promptly ruled the goal out for offside. Four minutes after Salah’s chalked-out strike, Pasalic scored the potentially tie-deciding goal, putting away the rebound after Kelleher stopped Ederson’s attempt. Surprisingly, it all started with Szoboszlai’s poor pass to Ibrahima Konate, as it allowed Teun Koopmeiners to pounce and play the ball to Ederson.

Liverpool nearly pulled one back in the 85th minute, as Robertson attempted to round the keeper with his curling shot. The Scotland international would have been successful had Matteo Ruggeri not been there to clear it off the line.

The game ultimately ended 3-0 in Atalanta’s favor, leaving Liverpool with a mountain to climb for the return leg in Italy next Thursday.

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