Football Features

How Liverpool can mount a comeback at Atalanta

By Will Evans | Twenty3

Published: 7:55, 17 April 2024

Liverpool will need something special if they are to progress past Atalanta.

Jurgen Klopp’s team find themselves 3-0 down after the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, having succumbed to a shock defeat at Anfield.

But the Reds have form when it comes to mounting sensational comebacks in continental competition — famously overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2019.

We consider how they can repeat the trick in Bergamo.

Silence the crowd

The aforementioned victory over Barcelona is not the first time Liverpool have turned things around in recent years.

Klopp’s side also found themselves three goals down against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their 2015/16 Europa League quarter-final, before surging back to win 4-3 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.

However, both of those games took place at Anfield, where the stadium’s famous atmosphere on European nights helped roar the Reds onto victory.

It will be a much tougher test on the road, with La Dea having won seven of their last nine home Serie A matches.

An early goal will therefore be crucial — not just to reduce the arrears, but also to create a sense of nervousness at the Gewiss Stadium.

Inspiration from Inter

Atalanta’s biggest defeat of the season came back in February, when table-toppers Inter thumped Gian Piero Gasperini’s outfit 4-0 at San Siro.

With Liverpool needing the same scoreline to progress, the Merseysiders can take inspiration from Serie A’s champions-elect.

The Nerazzurri’s second goal in that match was a pinpoint effort from the edge of the box by Lautaro Martinez, which exposed a potential chink in Atalanta’s armoury — they’ve concede a notably high 172 shots from outside of the area this season.

Inter also did not engage La Dea particularly high up the pitch, preferring to win the ball in deeper areas.

In fact, they only regained possession once in the attacking third all game, though such an approach would appear to jar with Liverpool’s high-pressing philosophy.

Clinical when it counts

Beating Atalanta by a significant margin will be a tough task, with no Serie A side scoring more than twice in Bergamo this term.

But Gasperini’s men are far from infallible — and their expected goals against (xGA) of 35 is not among the best records in Italy’s top tier.

Conversely, Liverpool’s xG of 74.66 is more than any other Premier League team by some distance.

If the Reds can be clinical with their chances, do not rule out another comeback for the ages on Thursday night.