Liverpool 0-3 Atalanta: Player ratings

Liverpool have been left with the unenviable task of overturning a three-goal deficit in Bergamo in a week’s time after a disastrous defeat against Atalanta in their Europa League quarter-final first leg at Anfield on Thursday night.

The Reds were perhaps fortunate to go in at the break just a goal down, with Atalanta smothering Jurgen Klopp’s side with their high press and man-marking and creating the clearer chances in the opening 45.

Former West Ham United striker Gianluca Scamacca gave the visitors the lead in the 38th minute via a scuffed shot from a pull-back, which somehow squeezed its way through Caoimhin Kelleher.

Despite the error, Liverpool had the Irishman to thank that the deficit wasn’t bigger, making point-blank saves from both Mario Pasalic in the opening minute and Teun Koopmeiners just before the half-time whistle.

Klopp made a triple change at the break - and it didn’t have the desired outcome at all. In fact, Atalanta went two goals up 15 minutes later when a completely unmarked Scamacca calmly converted another cross from the right with a volley.

Things then went from bad to worse when Pasalic pounced to score a tap-in after Kelleher fumbled Ederson’s effort into his path in the 83rd minute.

Here are your Liverpool player ratings...

Caoimhin Kelleher (GK): 5

Incredible bravery to block Pasalic’s opportunity from close range with his face to prevent the visitors from taking an early lead. However, his role in Scamacca’s go-ahead goal must be examined: the scuffed shot ended up in the Kop goal far too easily, with the Irishman diving over the top of the ball. He somewhat made amends just before half time with a smothering save on Koopmeiners but could perhaps have held on to the ball for Atalanta’s third, too.

Joe Gomez (RB): 4

A poor game. He had very little impact going forward besides slowing down his side’s attacks. Might have closed down Scamacca’s goal better, too. Then, he left an enormous space between himself and Ibrahima Konate for Scamacca to ghost into for the second goal.

Ibrahima Konate (CB): 6

Not directly to blame for anything, but was nonetheless far from his best. The Reds needed defensive leaders tonight, but were massively found wanting.

Virgil van Dijk (CB): 5

Sloppy in the opening quarter of an hour: his poor clearance gifted Pasalic his chance, then his lax back-pass almost let Charles De Ketelaere through on goal. The captain’s early lack of conviction seemed to be contagious.

Kostas Tsimikas (LB): 4

Ponderous in possession and almost got massively caught out when Koopmeiners went through on goal. Looked really off the pace - no surprise he was withdrawn at half time.

Wataru Endo (DM): 5

Was initially a steady presence in a highly congested engine room but became increasingly exposed in the second half and repeatedly caught in possession. Hooked off with the Reds two goals down.

Alexis Mac Allister (CM): 6

Struggled to be at his creative best because of Atalanta’s pressing and man-marking but nonetheless tried to keep the ball ticking over.

Curtis Jones (CM): 7

Exquisite through ball for Nunez after 15 minutes that the Uruguayan spurned. Ten minutes later he almost got a goal of his own, whipping his strike from the left just wide of the far post. He was one of the few midfielders to get any time on the ball, so it was surprising that he was hooked at the break.

Harvey Elliott (RW): 7

Terribly unlucky that his Salah-esque strike came back out off the crossbar and post after 25 minutes. Covered a lot of ground as he played something of a free role and, again, was unlucky to be taken off at the break.

Darwin Nunez (ST): 6

Demonstrated excellent speed early on to force the Reds’ first chance - a shot from a tight angle that was held on the second attempt by the keeper. Made the wrong choice trying to chip the keeper when Jones put him through on goal. It seems like we’ve gone back to the Darwin who can’t hit a barn door.

Cody Gakpo (LW): 6

Showed good tenacity in carrying the ball at pace, but wasn’t often on the same wavelength as Nunez in the first half, resulting in him either holding onto the ball too long or making the wrong pass. Tried to maintain that intensity in the second half but it came to nothing.

Substitutes

Andrew Robertson (Tsimikas, 46’): 8

Showed a lot more intensity and attacking intent than the man he replaced and was, at times, the only Liverpool player that looked like he wanted to win the game. Thought he had assisted a Salah goal and had a shot cleared off the line.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Jones, 46’): 5

Gave the ball away in the buildup to Atalanta’s third goal and made very little impact going forward.

Mohamed Salah (Elliott, 46’): 6

Made an instant impact off the bench, drawing a good save from Musso at his near post. Was unlucky to have his goal chalked off for offside having received a shove from the defender in the build-up.

Luis Diaz (Nunez, 59’): 5

Had a decent strike from range, well saved. Otherwise, attempted several dribbles but made zero headway.

Diogo Jota (Endo, 75’): 4

Good to have the Portuguese back, but not in these circumstances. Barring being felled on the edge of the box seconds after coming on, his appearance will be summed up by missing two close-range headers.

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