Atalanta manager touted for Liverpool job after shock win

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini should be in the conversation for jobs like Liverpool, according to Italian football journalist James Horncastle.

The Bergamo side stunned Liverpool with a 3-0 win at Anfield in the first leg of the Europa League quarter final on Thursday night, leaving Jurgen Klopp's chances of European silverware in his final season hanging by a thread.

Liverpool travel to Italy next week needing to overturn the joint-biggest home defeat they have ever suffered in Europe.

It's not the first time Atalanta have tasted victory at Anfield in recent history, with Gasperini's side winning 2-0 in a Champions League group stage match back in 2020/21.

Speaking after the game on TNT Sports' live coverage, Horncastle hailed the work of 66-year-old manager Gasperini as "probably the most influential Italian coach of the last 15 years".

Should be in the conversation

He said: "There's a big vacancy here in the summer and that guy Gian Piero Gasperini doesn't get talked about, you know? And over eight years he's probably punched above his weight per his resources more than any other coach."

Asked if Liverpool should consider Gasperini as part of their search for Klopp's successor, Horncastle replied: "I think he should be in the conversation for more of these jobs.

"I think with Gasperini, he was burnt in the past when he went to a big job, when he went to Inter and Inter didn't back him. At Atalanta he knows he's on to a good thing.

"He's in his 60s, he knows the grass isn't greener on the other side. He's got a very good contract. He's incentivised to stay here.

"But at the same time, we've spent the last month, six weeks talking about Xabi Alonso coming here, [Ruben] Amorim coming here. This guy beat Amorim home and away [with] Sporting. Went four games against them unbeaten."

Why not Gasperini?

Despite his impressive CV, Gasperini has not been mentioned among the contenders to take over at Liverpool.

In eight years at the club, the veteran coach has turned Atalanta from a team battling relegation to regularly qualifying for Europe. The highlights from recent years include two finishing as runners up in the Coppa Italia and reaching the Champions League quarter finals in 2020.

The two-time Serie A Coach of the Year's current contract in Bergamo runs until this summer, with the option to extend for another year.

Gasperini's likely age means he is not a serious contender for Liverpool's decision makers, with the club focussed on younger targets as part of a longer-term approach.

As it stands 39-year-old Sporting CP's Amorim remains the bookies' favourite for the job, after Alonso's decision to remain at Bayer Leverkusen.

The likes of Julian Nageslmann (Germany) and Roberto De Zerbi (Brighton) have also been suggested as possible contenders.

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