KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool's lm' waves to supporters after the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool “hollow more than heroic” – National media on limp Europa League exit

Liverpool may have beaten Atalanta 1-0, but the media were alarmed by a lifeless overall performance in the Reds’ Europa League exit.

This wasn’t meant to be how Jurgen Klopp‘s European adventure ended.

Liverpool failed to overturn their 3-0 deficit from last week, leading early through Mohamed Salah‘s penalty but never kicking on.

Here’s how the media assessed the Reds’ latest limp offering.

 

Another curiously flat performance by Liverpool…

BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe admitted that the Reds’ win felt “hollow”:

“A second leg win over Atalanta was not enough to keep Jurgen Klopp’s treble hopes alive, their Europa League dreams evaporating amid the smoke of the firework display in Bergamo. In truth, it was a hollow more than heroic victory for Liverpool, despite the promise of Mohamed Salah’s seventh minute penalty.

“The damage of the shocking 3-0 defeat at Anfield was too much. The spirit of that Barcelona comeback could not be summoned. Not even the return of Divock Origi himself would have re-energised a strikeforce which has lost its spark at the worst time.

“Atalanta were worth their success over the two legs but there was no escaping the sense of a wasted opportunity for Klopp.

“Liverpool were forced to play in panic mode, even when the early penalty offered the platform to make the evening more nervous for the hosts than it ultimately proved.”

On Twitter, Lewis Steele was slightly more positive, but admitted that Liverpool fizzled out:

“Liverpool played very well, I thought, in the first half. But they ran out of ideas after the break as Atalanta retreated and limited space.

“Stadium is bouncing here and the party will carry on into the night. The biggest win of Atalanta’s history and well deserved.”

BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister (L) and goalkeeper Alisson Becker looks dejected after the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Miguel Delaney of the Independent focused on the meek nature of Liverpool’s exit:

“Liverpool just didn’t conjure enough against a canny Atalanta, who more than deserved their place in the Europa League semi-final after a 3-1 aggregate victory.

“It was all the more impressive given that Liverpool had been gifted an early goal, of exactly the type that often invigorates these ties. Klopp’s side instead just went flat.

“That was the most deflating part, that illustrated why this ended it so meekly. There were so many moments where it looked like Liverpool were going through trying to go through the motions of playing their system, but had forgotten how.

“It was a team working out in real time, but never fully doing so.”

This Is Anfield‘s Jack Lusby was saddened by the limp manner in which Klopp’s last European game in charge ended:

“This 1-0 win, which felt nothing like a win, marked the final European game of Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool.

“He has led Liverpool to four European finals, including in the Europa League in his first season in charge, but will depart with only one Champions League triumph.

“Those runs to showpiece clashes in Basel, Kyiv, Madrid and Paris have brought some of the best memories fans could have wished for when Klopp arrived in 2015.

“But this latest exit serves to taint that remarkable legacy, with fans right to ask: what exactly happened to make the wheels fall off so dramatically?”

BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s David Anderson was also in a critical mood:

“Not even Klopp’s poetry could hide this humiliation and this is a major black mark in his final season.

“Klopp had only lost to the two Madrids and Sevilla in his eight European campaigns at Anfield and nobody expected Atalanta to add their name to that list.

“As spirited as Liverpool were last night, the damage was clearly done at Anfield and even the Reds, with their fabled powers of recovery, could not pull this one back. Certainly not the Liverpool of now and all they had to show for their endeavours was an early Mohamed Salah penalty.

“That’s the only goal they have managed in their last three games and they are not back to their best yet. Liverpool were better than they had been at Anfield a week ago, although that was not hard, and Klopp will hope they are climbing out of their low which has rocked their season.”

 

This has been quite a ride with Klopp in Europe, though…

BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool's lm' waves to supporters after the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Julien Laurens was quick to look back on a great European period under Klopp:

“Two [Champions League] finals which is great in nine years and the big one was against Spurs which they won – that will be special for Jurgen Klopp.

“In Europe they have had some incredible games. The Barcelona game [2019 semi-final] stays in your mind with Divock Origi‘s performance, Trent’s corner – this is Jurgen Klopp‘s legacy and their DNA.

“It is unfortunate they could not go all the way – it was just not to be.”

Finally, former Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock was another who touched upon a legendary spell with Klopp at the helm:

Jurgen Klopp has brought Liverpool fans some of the greatest years of their lives, competing most years for the Premier League title. To have those good times back, they feel like they can compete against the best teams in world football.

“Klopp has brought that connection which was sadly missing for many, many years.

“It’s the connection he has had with the city of Liverpool.”