Liverpool can progress to the last-16 of the Champions League with a win on Wednesday night when Atalanta are the visitors at Anfield.
Liverpool vs. Atalanta
Wednesday, November 25, 2020 – 8pm (GMT)
Champions League Group Stage (4)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
The Reds produced an imperious performance against Leicester over the weekend, easing to a 3-0 win on Brendan Rodgers’ return to Anfield.
Many had tipped an injury-plagued Liverpool to struggle against the Foxes but they dominated them from the first minute to the last.
It was another sign that Jurgen Klopp‘s men are the team to beat in England this season, but attention now turns to European action in midweek.
Atalanta head to Merseyside looking to avenge their 5-0 hammering in the reverse fixture in Italy, when Diogo Jota bagged a hat-trick and Liverpool ran riot.
Klopp knows that victory on Wednesday will guarantee a place in the knockout rounds for another season, while a draw could also be enough to secure qualification.
However, with Liverpool’s squad threadbare it could be that a weakened starting lineup is fielded ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton in the Premier League.
This is a side who are brimming with confidence, despite their fitness woes, so there is no reason why Atalanta shouldn’t be seen off once again.
Victory at Anfield will allow Klopp to ease off in the remaining two Group D games, which would be an enviable position to be in.
Liverpool’s injuries are showing few signs of easing, with Naby Keita picking up a hamstring issue in the win over Leicester.
It is a bitter blow for the Guinean, who is now set for another spell out of the team.
Mohamed Salah is back after testing negative for COVID-19, acting as a huge boost, and he could return to the side on Wednesday after the manager confirmed his availability.
Nobody predicted Liverpool to thump Atalanta in the manner they did in their recent meeting, but how have the Serie A side fared since?
A draw at home to Inter Milan was a respectable result in the days after their annihilation by the Reds, before the international break got in the way.
On Sunday, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side could only draw 0-0 away to Spezia, leaving them eighth in the table after eight matches.
In terms of their Champions League prospects, Atalanta are in a precarious position as they sit level on points with Ajax (4).
With the Dutch giants expected to see off Midtjylland on Wednesday evening, Atalanta’s result at Liverpool is clearly vital.
Did You Know?
Despite some poor results away from home, Liverpool have only lost once at home to a Serie A team in the Champions League – a 2-1 loss at the hands of Fiorentina back in 2009/10.
Their first meeting against an Italian outfit came against Roma in 2001/02, on an emotional night that saw Gerard Houllier return to the dugout after heart surgery.
The Reds prevailed 2-0, qualifying for the quarter-finals in the process.
A famous 2-1 victory over Juventus in the quarters then took place during the historic 2004/05 season, before Inter were beaten 2-0 in the last-16 in 2007/08.
Meanwhile, Roma were thrashed 5-2 in the semis in 2017/18, prior to two group stage matches against Napoli over the following two seasons, which ended 1-0 and 1-1 respectively.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Atalanta – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 0-0 vs. Spezia
Drew 1-1 vs. Inter Milan
Lost 5-0 vs. Liverpool
Won 2-1 vs. Crotone
Drew 2-2 vs. Ajax
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Klopp expects nothing less than a tough test against a “top” Atalanta outfit:
“Atalanta is a threat without a point to prove, but, of course, the night at Atalanta was a special one and we played exceptionally well and did pretty much everything right, in the right moment and in the right manner.
“So many things came together to win the game in the way that we won it but we know that that game has nothing to do with [Wednesday night].
“That means that we really have to be ready again. Atalanta is a top team and has a special way to play.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Atalanta will be shown live in the UK on BT Sport 2, with coverage starting at 7pm (GMT) and kickoff at 8pm.
The always-biased Chris Williams is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog, keeping you up-to-date with the action from 7.15pm (GMT).