Liverpool favourite questions team's belief during Europa League exit

Liverpool's hopes of a dramatic Europa League comeback were dashed on Thursday night as they fell short against Atalanta, crashing out of the competition despite a 1-0 win in Bergamo.

Former Reds striker Peter Crouch, speaking on TNT Sports, didn't mince his words, accusing his former side of running out of ideas in their quest to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg.

Despite starting brightly with Mohamed Salah's early penalty, the Reds struggled to break down a stubborn Atalanta rearguard.

"I don’t think they moved the ball quick enough. I don’t think they had [any] answers really," said Crouch, expressing disappointment at Liverpool's lack of creativity and belief as they went out of the competition with a whimper.

Praise for Atalanta

Despite the Reds only managing two shots in the second half as they chased a further two goals just to force extra time, Crouch praised Atalanta's game management and highlighted Gian Piero Gasperini's side's defensive resilience and organisation.

"The management of the game in the second half was fantastic from Atalanta," he said.

Atalanta's man-marking in particular saw defender Ibrahima Konate and goalkeeper Alisson leading the charts for touches of the ball on the night.

"Liverpool just couldn’t find a way to break them down, especially with [Mo] Salah and [Luis] Diaz off the pitch. That made it more difficult," Crouch said.

Possible red card

The former Liverpool man also pointed out a key moment in the match, believing Atalanta's Isak Hien should have been sent off for a deliberate handball in the first half. However, he admitted that pinning hopes on one decision would be futile, acknowledging Atalanta's superiority over the two legs.

"I don’t think Liverpool were at their best tonight. We’re sitting here, clutching at straws and asking for a red card – they’re a better side than that. We shouldn’t be sitting here trying to get people sent off," Crouch remarked.

As Liverpool lick their wounds and reflects on what has ultimately been a disappointing European campaign, Atalanta march on to the semi-finals, leaving Jurgen Klopp's side to ponder what could have been.

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