Match report as goals from Josip Ilicic (60) and Robin Gosens (64) secure the deserved 2-0 win for Atalanta in Anfield; The result means that Jürgen Klopp’s team still need a win to secure the last 16 places.
Liverpool still need one win to reach the Champions League of the last 16 after beating Atalanta 2-0 at Anfield.
The Serie A club were mature and methodical in avenging their 5-0 defeat in the second leg earlier this month and had good value for their win with Liverpool not scoring any shots on goal throughout the match.
Josip Ilicic broke the cul-de-sac from Papu Gomez’s cross on the hour before Robin Gosens doubled his lead (64) when Liverpool took a break.
The result means the Premier League champions remain at the top of Group D on nine points, but Ajax joined Atalanta on seven points after their 3-1 win over Midtjylland, which eliminated the Danes.
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Neco Williams (6), Matip (6), Rhys Williams (5), Tsimikas (5), Milner (6), Jones (5), Wijnaldum (5), Salah (5 )), Origi (4), mane (6).
Subs: Fabinho (6), Firmino (6), Minamino (n / a), Jota (6), Robertson (6).
Atalanta: Gollini (6), Toloi (7), Romero (8), Djimsiti (7), Hateboer (7), de Roon (7), Freuler (7), Pessina (7), Gosens (8), Gomez ( 9), Ilicic (7).
Subs: Mojica (6) Miranchuk (n / a), Zapata (6).
Man of the game: Papu Gomez.
Nothing that happened on the Anfield pitch would dwarf the news that broke hours before this competition. Diego Maradona’s death should rightly dominate the media in the days to come and a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in honor of the Argentina legend.
Liverpool knew the win would secure their place in the last 16 when competition returns in February, but it took them 44 minutes to get their first shot in a balmy first half. James Milner played a free kick for Kostas Tsimikas and after Rafael Toloi failed to clear properly, Mohamed Salah’s right foot failed to disturb Pierluigi Gollini.
Atalanta was far more threatening when Gian Piero Gasperini watched his squad play more entrepreneurial football orchestrated by the evergreen Gomez.
Mohamed Salah returned to the Liverpool grid after his recent positive Covid-19 test when coach Jürgen Klopp made five changes for Atalanta’s Champions League visit. Klopp called a second-string defense, only Joel Matip remained from Sunday’s win against Leicester when Neco Williams, Rhys Williams and Kostas Tsimikas started.
James Milner moved from right-back to midfield, with Salah and Divock Origi coming up front. Atalanta made six changes from their 5-0 loss to the Reds three weeks ago, reinforced by the inclusion of Robin Gosens and Marten De Roon.
The Argentine was once defended by Maradona for a foul on Lucas Biglia during a Serie A clash that saw the presence of the then AC Milan midfielder at the 2018 World Cup in jeopardy, highlighting his sharp turn and low center of gravity a dreary opening 45 minutes.
Atalanta had the best chance when Cristian Romero found Robin Gosens’ overlapping run, but his snapshot was dropped by Alisson on his near post. There was another notable incident when Ilicic fell into the theater under the challenge of Tsimikas, but referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande remained unmoved.
Having won the first three games without conceding a clean sheet, Liverpool knew they had already done the hard work – but Jurgen Klopp was unfazed and tried to give much-needed urgency to his troops during the break.
The Liverpool manager sent Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino to warm up within minutes of the restart after seeing little improvement. It was to get worse when Atalanta took the lead, however.
Inevitably, Gomez was involved when his lofty cross was stabbed home from close range from Ilicic’s left, under the body of Alisson.
2 – For the first time in 137 games at Anfield under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool lost a home game by more than one goal. This was the worst defeat since August 2015 in the Premier League against West Ham under Brendan Rodgers (0-3). anomaly. image. Twitter. com / 78YKokJE9A
Four substitutes and four minutes later Liverpool failed 2-0. Another Gomez cross was headed over the goal by Hateboer this time and Gosens was not marked for volley from seven meters away.
This was an unknown area for the six-time European champion. In fact, it was the first time since October 2014 that Liverpool were two goals behind Real Madrid in a Champions League match at Anfield.
The hosts played the prize for their passive performance, and news of Ajax’s lead over Midtjylland put them in the lead at the summit – but this time there would be no historic comeback.
Duvan Zapata had a late chance for a third goal but after dismantling Atalanta three weeks ago in Bergamo it was a rude awakening for Liverpool ahead of Ajax’s visit the next week.
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp told BT Sport: « It wasn’t a good game. Not much done by either team until they scored the goals.
« A deserved defeat in a difficult game. The referee didn’t whistle much and that makes it even more difficult for both sides. It was incredibly intense and you need a few breaks.
« When the first half is over you are usually satisfied, but for some players who haven’t played in a while it was very intense for them. We didn’t find a way in the game.
« It’s easier to talk about a good game. We had moments but no real opportunities. It could happen to other teams. Thumbs up, no injuries and we’re going again. «
« The priority was the Brighton weekend as Liverpool are already in a strong position. Ultimately, it’s about getting through the group. Ideally, Liverpool would like to win the group but they have two games left – one at home for Ajax while they are expected to win the final if they face Midtjylland.
« Klopp made the five changes tonight, and it was flat, it was disjointed. The guys who came in didn’t take the opportunity. It’s a reminder that Atalanta are a decent team and they reacted to the defeat a few weeks ago. They didn’t give Liverpool the space they had in that first game and got their rewards. «
Salah was back after a couple of negative Covid tests but was overshadowed by the brilliant Gomez. No player scored more passes in the opposing half than the 32-year-old (44), who enjoyed his evening on Merseyside, acting as an assistant and playing a role in preparing for the second.
He provided two assists in Atalanta’s 5-1 Europa League win over Everton three years ago this week, and on the night that celebrated Maradona’s career, it seemed only fitting that his compatriot in a No. 10 shirt would make such an impression on the pitch.
Liverpool face Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday at the Amex Stadium. Kick-off 12. 30 o’clock. They’ll return to the Champions League when they play on Tuesday Jan.. December, Ajax align. Kick-off at 8 p.m..
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Liverpool F. . C.. . , Atalanta B. . C.. . , UEFA Champions League, Jürgen Klopp, Mohamed Salah, Anfield
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