Champions League - Group D
LiverpoolLiverpool0AtalantaAtalanta2

Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta: Visitors enjoy surprise Champions League win at Anfield

By Alex BysouthBBC Sport
Josip Ilicic opened the scoring after 60 minutes
Josip Ilicic opened the scoring after 60 minutes

Atalanta scored twice in four minutes to deliver a surprise victory over Liverpool and blow qualification from Champions League Group D wide open.

A much-changed Reds side lacked fluidity and failed to have a shot on target at Anfield on Wednesday.

Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens struck for the Serie A side midway through the second half.

Mohamed Salah, returning to the side, had fired over with the Reds' best chance in the first half.

The Italian outfit looked more likely to break the deadlock and did so when Ilicic poked beyond Alisson from Alejandro Gomez's teasing cross.

The visitors doubled their lead four minutes later when an unmarked Gosens volleyed in from Hans Hateboer's nod down.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp immediately made four substitutions in a bid to get something from the game, but the changes could not prevent the Reds suffering their first home defeat inside 90 minutes since September 2018.

Klopp's side still remain top of the group and need one win from their final two games - at home to Ajax and away to Midtjylland - to qualify.

Lacklustre Reds suffer Anfield off night

Mohamed Salah shoots at goal
Mohamed Salah had Liverpool's only shot in the first half

Klopp will surely be disappointed not to have wrapped up his side's qualification for the knockout stages and given himself the opportunity to rest players.

The German has already bemoaned the fact his team have to visit Brighton at 12:30 GMT on Saturday, urging broadcasters to discuss the schedule or risk clubs losing players to injury.

It is also no secret the Reds are already without a number of first-team regulars, and with Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams and Neco Williams in their line-up, Liverpool became the first side to start three British teenagers in a Champions League match for more than a decade.

Klopp made five changes to the side that beat Leicester City on Sunday, including Salah, who returned after his positive Covid-19 test while on international duty with Egypt.

On an off night for the Reds, Salah, who earlier in the day was named on the shortlist for the men's prize in the Best Fifa Football Awards, engineered the hosts' only real chance when he shot over in the 44th minute.

Liverpool lacked their usual intensity and even the arrival of Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson and Fabinho after 61 minutes failed to inspire any urgency.

Instead, they were deservedly beaten by an Atalanta side they had inflicted a 5-0 defeat upon earlier this month.

Gomez pulls Atalanta's strings

Gomez
Gomez had a hand in both Atalanta goals and enjoyed more touches in the opposition half than any other player

Atalanta impressed as underdogs on their Champions League debut last season, only missing out on a semi-final spot when Paris St-Germain progressed in dramatic late fashion.

But the Bergamo outfit headed to Anfield without a win in all competitions this month, including that thrashing by Liverpool in Italy.

They looked a different side during Wednesday's victory, limiting the Reds to just three shots, none of which troubled goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Diminutive captain Gomez dictated the play for the visitors and it was the Argentine's inswinging cross that found forward Ilicic to break the deadlock.

Another Gomez delivery from the left picked out Hateboer and he guided it into the path of the impressive Gosens in space on the edge of the six-yard box to finish.

"Obviously this is something which will be written in the pages of history," said coach Gian Piero Gasperini. "This is perhaps our biggest ever victory in our history, certainly our most prestigious."

The Serie A side have now given themselves a shot at qualification for the last 16, hosting Midtjylland next before a visit to Ajax in a match that may be a decider for who progresses.

'Thumbs up, no injuries and we go again'

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, talking to BT Sport: "It was not a good game. Both teams didn't create a lot, until they scored the goals.

"A deserved defeat in a difficult game. The referee didn't whistle a lot and that makes it even more difficult, for both sides. It was unbelievably intense and you need some breaks.

"When the first half is gone, you usually settle - but for some players who didn't play for a while it was very intense for them. We didn't find a way in the game.

"We had moments but not real chances. It could happen to other teams. You ask us to go Saturday at 12:30, which is nearly a crime. That is nothing to do with the result, but congratulations to you.

"Thumbs up, no injuries and we go again."

Hosts slip to rare defeat - the stats

  • Liverpool lost a competitive home match by a margin of more than one goal for the first time in 137 matches under Jurgen Klopp.
  • This was their heaviest such defeat since August 2015 in the Premier League against West Ham under Brendan Rodgers (0-3).
  • Atalanta have won their past four away games in the Champions League, scoring 13 goals in the process and keeping a clean sheet in three of those four victories.
  • Atalanta are the first side to win their first visit to Anfield by more than one goal since Spartak Moscow in November 1992 (also 2-0).
  • For the first time since Opta began recording the data in the Champions League in 2003-04, Liverpool failed to attempt a shot on target in a home game in the competition.
  • Ilicic scored his 50th goal for Atalanta, and his first in 12 appearances for the club since scoring four against Valencia in the Champions League in March.
  • The Reds attempted just one shot in the first half, their lowest in the opening 45 minutes of a competitive match at Anfield since January 2017, against Chelsea in the Premier League.

What next?

Liverpool visit Brighton in the Premier League in a 12:30 GMT kick-off on Saturday, before hosting Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday (20:00).

Player of the match

GómezAlejandro Gómez

with an average of 8.71

Liverpool

  1. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
    Average rating

    3.93

  2. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating

    3.91

  3. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
    Average rating

    3.82

  4. Squad number7Player nameMilner
    Average rating

    3.77

  5. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating

    3.41

  6. Squad number3Player nameFabinho
    Average rating

    3.38

  7. Squad number32Player nameMatip
    Average rating

    3.37

  8. Squad number46Player nameR Williams
    Average rating

    3.32

  9. Squad number5Player nameWijnaldum
    Average rating

    3.29

  10. Squad number17Player nameJones
    Average rating

    3.21

  11. Squad number76Player nameN Williams
    Average rating

    3.18

  12. Squad number10Player nameMané
    Average rating

    3.16

  13. Squad number18Player nameMinamino
    Average rating

    3.15

  14. Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
    Average rating

    3.08

  15. Squad number21Player nameTsimikas
    Average rating

    3.01

  16. Squad number27Player nameOrigi
    Average rating

    2.61

Atalanta

  1. Squad number10Player nameGómez
    Average rating

    8.71

  2. Squad number72Player nameIlicic
    Average rating

    8.61

  3. Squad number8Player nameGosens
    Average rating

    8.55

  4. Squad number32Player namePessina
    Average rating

    8.44

  5. Squad number17Player nameRomero
    Average rating

    8.43

  6. Squad number33Player nameHateboer
    Average rating

    8.41

  7. Squad number15Player namede Roon
    Average rating

    8.37

  8. Squad number19Player nameDjimsiti
    Average rating

    8.35

  9. Squad number26Player nameMojica
    Average rating

    8.31

  10. Squad number2Player nameRafael Tolói
    Average rating

    8.31

  11. Squad number11Player nameFreuler
    Average rating

    8.29

  12. Squad number91Player nameZapata
    Average rating

    8.25

  13. Squad number59Player nameAl Miranchuk
    Average rating

    8.25

  14. Squad number95Player nameGollini
    Average rating

    7.95

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 76N Williams
  • 32MatipSubstituted forMinaminoat 84'minutes
  • 46R Williams
  • 21TsimikasBooked at 57minsSubstituted forRobertsonat 61'minutes
  • 17Jones
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forFabinhoat 61'minutes
  • 7Milner
  • 11SalahSubstituted forFirminoat 61'minutes
  • 27OrigiSubstituted forJotaat 61'minutes
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 3Fabinho
  • 9Firmino
  • 13Adrián
  • 18Minamino
  • 20Jota
  • 26Robertson
  • 62Kelleher
  • 64Cain
  • 65Clarkson
  • 89Koumetio

Atalanta

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 95Gollini
  • 2Toloi
  • 17Romero
  • 19Djimsiti
  • 33Hateboer
  • 15de RoonBooked at 89mins
  • 11Freuler
  • 8GosensSubstituted forMojicaat 75'minutes
  • 32PessinaSubstituted forAl Miranchukat 85'minutes
  • 72IlicicSubstituted forZapataat 70'minutes
  • 10Gómez

Substitutes

  • 6Palomino
  • 7Lammers
  • 9Muriel
  • 21Piccini
  • 26Mojica
  • 31Rossi
  • 40Ruggeri
  • 42Scalvini
  • 43Panada
  • 57Sportiello
  • 59Al Miranchuk
  • 91Zapata
Referee:
Carlos del Cerro Grande

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamAtalanta
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home4
Away8
Shots on Target
Home0
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 0, Atalanta 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 0, Atalanta 2.

  3. Booking

    Marten de Roon (Atalanta) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Diogo Jota (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Marten de Roon (Atalanta).

  6. Post update

    Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

  7. Post update

    Remo Freuler (Atalanta) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Curtis Jones (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Johan Mojica (Atalanta).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Atalanta. Aleksey Miranchuk replaces Matteo Pessina.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Takumi Minamino replaces Joel Matip.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Duván Zapata (Atalanta) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matteo Pessina.

  13. Post update

    Offside, Atalanta. Marten de Roon tries a through ball, but Hans Hateboer is caught offside.

  14. Post update

    Hand ball by Curtis Jones (Liverpool).

  15. Post update

    Hand ball by Duván Zapata (Atalanta).

  16. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Neco Williams tries a through ball, but Diogo Jota is caught offside.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Atalanta. Johan Mojica replaces Robin Gosens.

  18. Post update

    Hand ball by Duván Zapata (Atalanta).

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Atalanta. Duván Zapata replaces Josip Ilicic.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Rafael Tolói (Atalanta).

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