Atalanta Earn Vital Champions League Away Win at Liverpool

Wednesday night saw the second installment of the Liverpool – Atalanta Champions League match-up as the Italian side gained revenge for their 0-5 defeat at the Gewiss Stadium and moved them level on points with Ajax as the race for qualification heats up.

The side from Bergamo triumphed 2-0 in a resounding win controlling the game from start to finish.

Atalanta’s manager Gian Piero Gasperini recalled three key players for the Wednesday night trip to Merseyside with Berat Djimisti coming into defense, Dutchman Hans Hateboer returning at right wing back and Remo Freuler strengthening the midfield behind Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic in attack.

Liverpool’s star striker Mohamed Salah was passed eligible to play after sitting out the weekend win against Leicester due to testing positive for Covid-19 and partnered Sadio Mane and Divock Origi, who replaced the injured Roberto Firmino. Georginio Wijnaldum came in for the injured Naby Keita and Greek Konstantinos Tsimikas came into left back.

The first half ended goalless with no side creating any real goal scoring chances. Atalanta were at their most threatening in the initial 15 minutes where they created three openings. Robin Gosens came closest to breaking the deadlock when he was played in down the left hand side and forced Alisson into a near post save with a rasping drive.

Atalanta were looking to threaten on the break and Gomez and Ilicic both saw shots go close but nothing further to trouble the Liverpool goal. Liverpool were well disciplined in defense ensuring they had plenty of bodies behind the ball. They shut down the little pockets of space in-between the lines suffocating any further attacks.

The Italians marshaled the Liverpool threat well, cutting off any supply to the dangerous wide men of Mane and Salah, with Origi proving to be less than an ideal foil for usual number 9 Roberto Firmino. The English team’s only chance was when Salah fired high over the bar on his right foot after a cross had broken to him.

Atalanta had half a penalty shout turned down as Ilicic dribbled into the box between Tsimikas and Wijnaldum, both players reached for the Slovenian and he went down to no interest from the referee.

The second half began in a similar vein to the first with the only attempt coming via Papu Gomez who tested Alisson from long range after a quick free kick had been taken, with the Liverpool goalkeeper easily gathering.

Atalanta took the lead just before the hour mark through danger man Ilicic. Freuler found Gomez on the left hand side of the box and he sent a curled cross to the far post between defense and goalkeeper Alisson and Ilicic was there to slide the ball home, much to Gasperini’s delight.

Jurgen Klopp responded by making a raft of changes sending on Fabinho, Firmino, Robertson alongside Portuguese front man Diogo Jota.

One soon became two when Gosens added to Ilicic’s strike. Gomez was the instigator again, finding space on the left of the box again to dink a cross to the back post where Hateboer cleverly headed back across goal to the awaiting Gosens to fire past Alisson for the all-important second goal.

Ilicic was replaced in the 70th minute by Colombian Duvan Zapata offering La Dea a mobile target up front, as they settled into a defensive shape to see out the remaining part of the match. Liverpool had no answer for the Atalanta riddle and created nothing as Atalanta strode to a vital victory.

Attentions now turn back to domestic football with Atalanta hosting Verona on Saturday evening as they look to get back on track in Serie A whilst Liverpool travel to the south coast to take on Graham Potter’s Brighton.



November 25, 2020 – Champions League 2020-21 Group Stage

SCORERS: 56′ Ilicic, 64′ Gosens

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; N. Williams, R. Williams, Matip (85′ Minamino), Tsimikas (61′ Robertson); Jones, Wijnaldum (61′ Fabinho), Milner; Salah (61′ Roberto Firmino), Origi (61′ Diogo Jota), Mané (Adrian, Kelleher, Cain, Clarkson, Koumetio) Coach: Klopp
ATALANTA (3-5-2): Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Pessina (84′ Miranchuk), Freuler, Gosens (75′ Mojica); Ilicic (70′ Zapata), Gomez (Sportiello, Rossi, Palomino, Lammers, Muriel, Piccini, Ruggeri, Scalvini, Panada) Coach: Gasperini

REFEREE: Del Cerro Grande (Spain)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Tsimikas (L), De Roon (A); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 2′