The opposition lowdown: Atalanta

Europa LeagueThe opposition lowdown: Atalanta

By Aimee Puleston and Chris Shaw


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Liverpool resume the quest for Europa League success this week when their quarter-final against Atalanta BC gets under way.

The Reds host the Serie A outfit at Anfield in the first leg on Thursday night, before heading to Italy to contest the second leg at Stadio di Bergamo on April 18.

Here, we take a closer look at Atalanta ahead of a tie that Jürgen Klopp predicted will be ‘tricky’ and ‘very interesting’. “We played there [before],” he said immediately after March’s draw for the last eight was revealed.

“It’s now not that I watched them since then 500 times but still the same manager, I’m pretty sure a similar structure – which means uncomfortable to play against, very well organised.

“But it’s [a] quarter-final, I didn’t expect – it was not possible actually with all the teams involved – any easy opponent.”

Recent form

La Dea make the journey to Merseyside on the back of a 2-1 defeat away at Cagliari in the league last Sunday – their second in a row after previously losing 1-0 to Fiorentina in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final.

They sit sixth in the Serie A standings with eight matches left to play in 2023-24.

Atalanta have been especially strong in home fixtures so far this season, winning 14 of 19 games in all competitions, including nine of the last 10.

Teun Koopmeiners is the team’s current top goalscorer with 13, while Gianluca Scamacca has provided 11 strikes and Charles De Ketelaere 10. Aleksey Miranchuk is their leading assister on 11.

How they got here

Atalanta were unbeaten in this season’s Europa League group stage, winning four and drawing two to finish clear of Sporting CP, Sturm Graz and Rakow.

They were served a reunion in the last 16 by being paired with Sporting again, and the tie was in the balance after a 1-1 first-leg draw in Portugal.

But it was Atalanta who advanced courtesy of a 2-1 victory on home soil in which they recovered from a deficit at the interval.

The boss

Gian Piero Gasperini was appointed by Atalanta before the start of the 2016-17 season, with his arrival resulting in a fourth-placed finish and qualification for the Europa League after a 26-year absence from UEFA competitions.

In 2018-19, Gasperini oversaw the club’s best-ever Serie A position with third place, which gained qualification into the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history. They were also runners-up in the Coppa Italia.

The side from Bergamo in northern Italy retained third spot in each of the two seasons that followed, reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2020, and were again beaten cup finalists in 2021.

Gasperini has twice been named Serie A Coach of the Year during his tenure with Atalanta – in 2019 and 2020 – and is closing in on 400 matches and 200 victories with the club.

He typically deploys a system that features three at the back, a midfield four and a fluid use of three attacking players.

Past meetings

Liverpool and Atalanta face off three-and-a-half years on from the only previous competitive meetings between the clubs.

During the Champions League group stage in 2020, Klopp’s men claimed a 5-0 win at Stadio di Bergamo with Diogo Jota bagging a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also on the scoresheet.

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Gasperini’s charges flipped that result in the return game three weeks later, though, running out 2-0 winners at Anfield.

Familiar faces

Atalanta’s squad features several players with experience in English football, including the aforementioned ex-West Ham United striker Scamacca.

The ranks also feature former Arsenal left-back Sead Kolasinac, Davide Zappacosta – once of Chelsea – midfielder Marten de Roon, previously with Middlesbrough, as well as former Everton, Fulham and Leicester City attacker Ademola Lookman.



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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.