Jurgen Klopp warns Europa League opponents will be 'uncomfortable to play against'

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp is gearing up for what he expects to be a big challenge as his team was drawn to face Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The draw for the next round of the competition was conducted in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday, pitting the Reds against the Serie A side in what promises to be an intriguing encounter.

The first leg of the quarter-final tie is scheduled to take place at Anfield on 11 April, with the return leg in Italy seven days later.

The draw for the following round was also made, with a semi-final against either Benfica or Marseille awaiting should the Reds progress.

The Reds breezed through qualification in the 2023/24 group stage and topped the standings with little fuss, therefore securing direct passage to the last 16.

Jurgen Klopp's side were drawn against Sparta Prague, thrashing the Czech champions 11-2 on aggregate after a 5-1 victory at the epet Arena last week and a 6-1 win at Anfield this Thursday.

Previous meeting

The match-up with Atalanta carries particular significance for Liverpool, as they previously encountered the Italians during the 2020-21 Champions League group stage.

"Tricky. Atalanta, we played there [before]," said Klopp, reflecting on the draw during his pre-Manchester United press conference.

While the German admitted he hasn't closely monitored Atalanta since their last meeting, he highlighted the consistent approach of their coach, Gian Piero Gasperini: "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."

No easy opponents

Emphasising the competitive nature of the quarter-finals, Klopp stressed, "I didn't expect – it was not possible actually with all the teams involved – any easy opponent."

In fact, he expressed his anticipation for the upcoming matches, describing them as "very interesting" and stating, "I'm really looking forward to it."

Furthermore, Klopp conveyed his respect for Atalanta's achievements in recent years, noting their consistency and quality performances. "A lot of respect for what Atalanta is doing in the last years, very consistent. Good," he added.

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