Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini believes their 2-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday was “perhaps our biggest ever victory,” paying homage to Anfield’s history.
Having suffered a 5-0 humbling in Bergamo in their first meeting, Atalanta headed to Anfield more prepared to take on a Reds side limited by injury.
Gasperini made six changes to his lineup from the home defeat, and was rewarded with a 2-0 victory that saw them restrict Liverpool to zero shots on target, opening up Group D and improving their chances of progress to the last 16.
Atalanta’s top-flight history is relatively short, and their Champions League history even shorter, so after the game, Gasperini rightly savoured the moment.
“Obviously, this is something which will be written in the pages of history,” he told reporters via a translator.
“I remember when Genoa won here in 1992, perhaps it’s the last time an Italian club has won here at Anfield, I spent a lot of years at Genoa, so I have fond memories of that.
“It’s a shame there wasn’t a crowd today, but obviously this is a stadium everyone is aware of.
“Everyone is aware of its history, it’s a part of the history of football.
“Liverpool haven’t lost at home in 64 games in the domestic league, so this is perhaps the biggest ever victory in our history, certainly the most prestigious victory.
“This should really give us a boost now, and we should build upon this. These kinds of victories help you to grow, to develop, so you get more confidence in yourselves, more belief and to improve.”
There are shades of Jurgen Klopp‘s early years at Liverpool in this Atalanta side and the progress they are making, and it is undoubted that a victory at Anfield will be relished in Bergamo.
It is a testament to the power of the Reds’ home that Gasperini acknowledges this win as so significant, but his point that it was “a shame there wasn’t a crowd” highlights the frustration of the current situation.
European nights at Anfield are just not the same at present, and though football is on the brink of a return for supporters in a small capacity, the spectacle will continue to suffer until stadiums are able to be filled again.
Liverpool certainly suffered without the backing of the Kop, but that should not detract from the peformance Atalanta produced, as Gasperini explained.