Liverpool suffered their first home defeat in Champions League group stage as Atalanta’s quick fire goals in the second half halted Liverpool’s progression into round of 16. The defeat has allowed Atalanta and Ajax to be in touching distance with Liverpool with just two games remaining.
Jurgen Klopp made five changes to the side that defeated Leicester City as Mohamed Salah returned to starting line up after self isolation. The changes didn’t result in any positive outcome in the first half as Liverpool lacked urgency and intent going forward. Atalanta had a comfortable outing as they had better of the chances but couldn’t break the deadlock with the half-chances.
The second half didn’t prove to be any different for Liverpool as the players continued to put in a lacklustre performance, prompting Klopp to line up a quad substitution. Atalanta opened their scoring in the 60th minute as the impressive Gomez’s cross was steered in by Ilicic on the volley. The substitutes had little time to settle in as Atalanta quickly doubled their lead through Gosens with another volley after Gomez’s cross was headed back across the goal by Hateboer. Although Liverpool had majority of possession, they couldn’t register a single shot on target against an Atalanta side whom they defeated 5-0 in the reverse fixture.
Speaking to reporters after the defeat Jurgen Klopp said “It was not a good game. Both teams didn’t create a lot until they scored the goals. We saw it coming a little bit but we couldn’t stop it. It was a deserved defeat in a difficult game. For some players who didn’t play for a while you could see it was very intense for them. We had moments but not real chances, so it was a deserved defeat.”
Frustrated with the scheduling of matches Jurgen said “I’m afraid to say that it could happen not only to us but also to other teams. You, my special friends, ask us to go again at 12.30 on Saturday, which is nearly a crime. The boys are completely disappointed and frustrated bu we don’t have time for that. We just have to get fresh legs as quickly as possible and go again.“