James Milner set to break 36-year Dalglish record as Reds plot early safe passage

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James Milner can become the oldest player to reach the half-century mark of European games for the Reds by featuring tonight, beating the record set by a club legend.

Should he appear in this game Milner will become the 23rd man in the club’s history to play 50 European games. If he does he will the oldest Reds player to achieve the milestone aged 34 years 326 days beating the record set by Kenny Dalglish in 1984, who was 34 years 51 days.

Roberto Firmino holds the club record for most goals scored in a European group stage. He netted six in the 2017/18 Champions League. Diogo Jota goes into this game on four.

He has played in 52 of 53 games in Europe under Jurgen Klopp, only missing the second leg tie semi-final against Barcelona in 2019.

Mo Salah is now Liverpool’s joint-second highest scorer in European competition along with Michael Owen. Steven Gerrard, with 41, leads the way. Salah’s 22 goals have come in just 38 appearances.

He has 21 in the Champions League proper to equal Gerrard’s club record.

 

Headliners

BERGAMO, ITALY - Tuesday, November 3, 2020: Liverpool's Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at the Stadio di Bergamo. (Pic by Simone Arveda/Propaganda)

A victory will guarantee qualification for the knockout stages with two games remaining. Only once before have they achieved that in the Champions League – 2006/07 season.

The last time the Reds kept clean sheets in four successive European games was in 2017/18 – Spartak Moscow, both games against Porto and at home to Manchester City, one of only two sequences in which they have done so. This evening they could record the third.

Liverpool have lost one of their last 69 home games in all competitions in 90 minutes and two of the last 89 (to Chelsea in the League Cup and West Brom in FA Cup).

Liverpool’s next goal will be their 50th at Anfield in the European Cup under Jurgen Klopp.

And this could be the first time Liverpool have won the opening four fixtures of a group while it could also equal their best of four wins in any complete group phase.

Sadio Mane is one goal short of becoming the fifth Liverpool player to score 20 goals in Europe, while Jota is only the second player to score in his first two starts in the Champions League proper for Liverpool, following Robbie Keane back in 2008.

 

Yellow Warning

James Milner will miss the game with Ajax next week should receive his third yellow card of the group stage.

 

A Taste of Italy

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, March 19, 2002: Liverpool's Emile Heskey scores the second against AS Roma during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds have met Italian clubs 13 times at Anfield, winning eight while losing to Genoa (1992), Roma (2001), Fiorentina (2009) and Udinese (2012).

Liverpool have scored in 12 of those 13 with Roma (2001) being the only visiting team to keep a clean sheet.

This is the Reds fourth successive season playing Italian opposition.

Only once before have Liverpool beaten an Italian opponent twice in the same European campaign. They defeated Inter Milan home and away in 2007/08.

Liverpool’s 5-0 win at Atalanta was the biggest ever by an English club away to Italian opposition in European competition.

 

Atalanta on the Continent

BERGAMO, ITALY - Tuesday, November 3, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at the Stadio di Bergamo. (Pic by Simone Arveda/Propaganda)

Atalanta have scored four goals in each of their last two away games in Europe – winning 4-0 at Midtjylland in this group and last season recording a 4-3 victory at Valencia.

Their last five matches in this competition on an opponent’s ground have yielded 24 goals in total.

They have met English clubs in two previous seasons. In 2017/18 they beat Everton home and away in the Europa League group stage – winning 3-0 at home and 5-1 at Goodison. It was their first European campaign in 26 years.

Last season they drew 1-1 at home with Manchester City before losing 5-1 at the Etihad.

Atalanta’s defeat to Liverpool was the second-biggest ever by an Italian side on home soil in European competition, after Roma’s 7-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich in October 2014.

 

Goals Have Dried Up

BERGAMO, ITALY - Tuesday, November 3, 2020: Atalanta's Remo Freuler looks dejected as Liverpool score the fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at the Stadio di Bergamo. (Pic by Simone Arveda/Propaganda)

Three players have played every minute of this group stage for the Italians – Marco Sportiello, Rafael Toloi and Berat Djimsiti.

They have only kept two clean sheets in 11 outings this season and before their 0-0 draw at Spezia last Saturday, Liverpool were the only team Atalanta had failed to score against this season.

They have scored in only one of their last six first halves of action.

After scoring 18 goals in their opening five games of this campaign in all competitions they have found the net six times in the last six.

 

This Season’s Scorers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with team-mate Sadio Mané after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 10, Jota 8, Mane 5, Minamino 3, Firmino 2, Jones 2, Grujic 1, Origi 1, Robertson 1, Shaqiri 1, Van Dijk 1, own goals 2.

Atalanta: Gomez 5, Muriel 5, Zapata 5, Hateboer 2, Lammers 2, Miranchuk 2, De Roon 1, Gosens 1, Pasalic 1.


* Statistics courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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