Following Atalanta’s third goal, what transpired was justified as a concerning Liverpool idea surfaces.

0
21

The Paul Gorst assessment of Liverpool’s shocking and humiliating 3-0 home defeat to Atalanta in the quarterfinals of the Europa League

This was not how it was supposed to end, if this is to be Jurgen Klopp’s last European night at Anfield as Liverpool manager.

At this location, Klopp can raise a glass to a plethora of memorable nights of European football, including Roma, Borussia Dortmund, and, of course, that decisive 4-0 victory over Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final five years ago, after nearly nine years in charge.

Liverpool will need something similarly Herculean next week as they attempt to pull off another unbelievable three-goal comeback. They may need to call upon the spirit of May 2019 once more.

The good news is that Klopp’s team did score five goals during their previous visit to Atalanta four years ago, but that may not be enough to console those who are currently in need of some consolation.

The Reds’ chances of qualifying for the Europa League were severely damaged when they lost 3-0, a truly startling result that was the complete opposite of those previous performances.

Liverpool’s ability to run over opponents with their extra reserves of speed and force is a major component of their formidable arsenal. But they were equaled here against an incredibly disciplined and strong Atalanta team that showed no regard for their opponents, the location, or the narrative that culminated in the Dublin final—which for many was the highlight of this European campaign since Klopp declared his resignation in January.

Gian Piero Gasperini and his team deserve all the credit for demonstrating that the Champions League triumph they had in 2020 was not a coincidence resulting from global football’s behind-closed-doors dynamics. The Serie A team deserves to win, and in their last two trips here, they have gone five games without a response. Who else is able to make such claim?

Darwin Nunez’s attempt to chip the finish off of Curtis Jones’s through ball went wide in a first half of few opportunities, and Harvey Elliott was unlucky not to open the score with a fantastic effort that kissed the underside of the bar and the post before bouncing out.

Gianluca Scamacca’s goal, which came after Caoimhin Kelleher, who had, in all fairness, made a superb save to keep out Mario Pasalic earlier in the game, saw Liverpool punished for what had become, by this point, an abysmal first forty-five minutes.

Klopp, evidently uneasy with the lackluster first-half display, substituted Jones, Elliott, and Kostas Tsimikas for Dominik Szoboszlai, Mohamed Salah, and Andy Robertson in the second half.

It gave players like Nunez, Salah, and Virgil van Dijk a few opportunities, but it never felt like it was going to lead to anything long-term, and Gasperini’s team continued to pose a threat.
After Luis Diaz replaced Nunez and Diogo Jota came back, former West Ham United striker Scamacca skillfully converted from a cross down Liverpool’s left for a 2-0 lead.

Though they had a side full of weapons, the Italians were the ones to score next, with Pasalic tapping in after Kelleher had made the first save. Atalanta’s bench nearly completely stormed the pitch in search of their supporters at the Anfield Road end after that. And who was to responsible for them? In response, a large number of Liverpool supporters left the stadium, and it was hard to argue against their choice.

Supporters voted with their feet after choosing to abstain from flying flags in protest of the escalating ticket fees.

In the cold light of day, there might be some truth to the idea that Liverpool is exhausting itself at the worst possible moment. The taxing efforts of an injured team appear to be finally catching up to a team that had skillfully managed its exhausted reserves for such a long time before the international break, despite having persevered gallantly for months.

While the return of Jota and Jones, as well as the presence of Trent-Alexander Arnold and Stefan Bajcetic on the replacements’ bench, is encouraging on that front at least, it won’t have eased the pain of Atalanta’s celebrations in front of the Anfield Road end come kickoff.
As a protest against the most recent 2% increase in ticket prices, the flags were removed from the Kop, which at least ensured that no white ones were there for anyone to wave here. Liverpool will now have their hands full the following week, and another historic comeback is required. Do the players have the necessary amounts of energy?

Ireland’s sea has abruptly turned into a gulf, and Dublin has never appeared so far away.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here