Liverpool eliminated from Europa League despite second-leg win over Atalanta

Match reportLiverpool eliminated from Europa League despite second-leg win over Atalanta

By Sam Williams at Stadio di Bergamo


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Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League at the quarter-final stage 3-1 on aggregate by Atalanta, with Thursday’s 1-0 second-leg win in Italy not enough for the Reds.

Mohamed Salah’s seventh-minute penalty raised hopes that Jürgen Klopp’s team could overturn the three-goal deficit they faced from the first meeting at Anfield, but there was to be no dramatic turnaround in what now goes down as the final European game of the manager’s reign.

Salah spurned a great chance to make it 2-0 on the night shortly before half-time at Stadio di Bergamo but the momentum Liverpool built up during a dominant first-half performance dissipated after the interval.

Elimination means the Reds’ sole focus for the remaining weeks of the season is the Premier League title race, with Sunday’s trip to Fulham next on the agenda.

Team news

Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to the starting XI as one of three changes made by Klopp, with Dominik Szoboszlai and Cody Gakpo also included.

Liverpool: Alisson, Van Dijk, Konate, Diaz (Jota, 66), Szoboszlai (Elliott, 66), Mac Allister, Salah (Nunez, 66), Jones, Gakpo, Robertson (Danns, 80), Alexander-Arnold (Gomez, 72).

Unused subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Endo, Tsimikas, Gravenberch, Clark, Quansah.

First half

Liverpool’s early purpose and authority was rewarded when Alexander-Arnold’s cross hit the hand of Matteo Ruggeri and the referee pointed to the spot.

Salah’s penalty was unerring, the Egyptian burying his kick in the bottom corner while sending Juan Musso the wrong way to deliver an ideal start.

No celebration followed from Salah, who simply grabbed the ball and ran back to the centre circle. Liverpool evidently meant business and their No.11 so nearly put Szoboszlai in on goal soon after, but his pass was a shade overhit.

A sweeping move from the Reds saw Gakpo cushion an inventive flick into the path of Luis Diaz, but Musso was out quickly to smother the danger. Alexander-Arnold was orchestrating matters from deep and Klopp’s team were playing with fluency and intent.

After Alisson Becker had taken advantage of a heavy touch by Aleksei Miranchuk to gather at the forward’s feet as he bore down on goal, Atalanta’s defence was again tested as Alexander-Arnold and Szoboszlai linked up to great effect down the right flank.

The vice-captain found Curtis Jones at the back post and the midfielder tried to tee up Salah, only for the hosts to scramble the ball clear.

Another sublime Alexander-Arnold pass then freed Gakpo, who in turn fed Diaz. The No.7 located Salah and, instead of shooting, he attempted an unselfish return ball to Diaz and the chance was cut out.

And there was still time for another opportunity before the break, but Salah miscued his effort when trying to lob Musso after springing in behind Atalanta’s stretched back line.

Second half

Atalanta were a more imposing proposition in the early stages of the second half and Ederson forced Alisson into action, though the midfielder’s shot was weak.

The contest was now a much more even affair and, after Alexander-Arnold had again spotted a run in behind from Gakpo, the Dutchman was unable to bring the ball under control in order to get a shot away.

A low hit by Teun Koopmeiners was saved comfortably by Alisson and, midway through the half, Klopp made a triple substitution, with Harvey Elliott, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez introduced.

The changes did not have the desired effect, however, as Atalanta were dogged in their determination to stop Liverpool from hitting the assured stride they had in the first half.

Indeed, the Reds were unable to work Musso and, as time ticked away, the home fans raised the volume in anticipation of an aggregate victory that was duly confirmed.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.