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Atalanta Triumph Over Awful Liverpool

A performance of such crushing ineptitude from Liverpool, that’s it’s difficult to know where to start. No purpose, no pace, no intensity, led to the Reds having no chance. Atalanta, as good as they were, couldn’t have dreamt that in every single position, they’d be superior. 3-0 to the Italians didn’t flatter them, and Jurgen Klopp’s farewell may just be ending with a whimper, rather than a bang. It certainly doesn’t look like ending in Dublin.

This may just have been, the most disappointing performance of Klopp’s reign. From the first whistle, with wholesale changes from Old Trafford, Liverpool played as if the game, rather than being an European quarter-final, was almost an inconvenience. Yes, Harvey Elliot struck the woodwork early on, whilst Darwin Nunez again demonstrated a lack of composure in front of goal, but it was no surprise when Atalanta took the lead on the half hour. A fairly tame effort squirming under Kelleher, who’d previously remarkably saved at point blank range with his face. Yet, falling behind, rather than injecting some verve into Liverpool, instead made them look as if they’d been injected with Ketomene.

Three changes at half-time, with Curtis Jones, Elliot and Kostas Tsimikas being replaced, made little difference. Mo Salah still looked miles off it, whilst Dominic Szoboszlai simply looks incapable of running beyond a jog. Andy Robertson at least offered some width, but Liverpool found themselves two down before Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota appeared. Ibou Konate and Virgil Van Djik looking at each other as if strangers, as Scamacca had the freedom of Anfield, as he nonchalantly side footed past Kelleher to complete his brace.

Two down, and in desperate need of a goal, Anfield was in collective shock. Remarkably though, it got worse. Liverpool continued to offer little. Nobody made angles on the ball, nobody ran beyond an Atalanta defence that barely broke sweat, whilst the decision making on the ball, mirrored the inability displayed at Old Trafford, to make the right pass.

It’s not as if Atalanta were outstanding, but in scoring a third, they didn’t need to be. They simply punished Liverpool’s mistakes, and every single Liverpool player simply made too many of them. Liverpool’s inability to get to the ball first, after Kellehers parry led to third goal, exemplifying just how often they were second best throughout the entire ninety minutes.

So, to coin a phrase, ‘they think it’s all over’, and perhaps Atalanta are right. Liverpool at their best, are of course capable of scoring three goals in Italy, but look simply incapable of keeping a clean sheet. An evening that offered so much, provided so very little to get excited about. It was a European quarter final, but you’d never have known it. Klopp undoubtedly picked the wrong starting eleven, but was also undoubtedly let down by his players

Liverpool, sadly, got what they deserved. Surely to add to this seasons League Cup success, they’ll have to be near perfect between now and the end of the season. Klopp meanwhile needs to decide what his best eleven is, and stick to it.

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