Atalanta 0-1 Liverpool (3-1 agg): Player ratings as Klopp's farewell takes another blow

  • Liverpool win 1-0 against Atalanta in Europa League quarter-final second leg
  • Mohamed scored the only goal of the game but Reds were ultimately disapointing
  • First leg defeat was too much to overturn & knocked out Jurgen Klopp's side
Liverpool's 1-0 victory equated to a Europa League exit
Liverpool's 1-0 victory equated to a Europa League exit / Stefano Guidi/GettyImages

Liverpool managed a 1-0 win over Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday night, but it wasn't enough to keep the Reds in the competition after a 3-0 first leg defeat a week ago.

The Reds mounted an epic comeback against Barcelona en-route to winning the Champions League in 2019, but it was not to be on this occasion. Having previously bagged the Carabao Cup, Jurgen Klopp's final farewell as boss will now focus solely on the ongoing Premier League title race.

The damage for Liverpool had been done at Anfield, with an early Mohamed Salah penalty making only a slight dent in the lead that Atalanta had opened up in the first game. Overall, this was a match that threatened throughout to be a frenetic and spectacular watch but never really caught fire.

How the game unfolded

Chasing a 3-0 aggregate deficit, Liverpool knew they had to start fast if there was to be any chance of staying in the competition and that is exactly what happened when Trent Alexander-Arnold won the early penalty just five minutes in. After recycling an overhit ball from the opposite flank, his cross struck the arm of Matteo Ruggeri, the referee pointed to the spot and Salah duly obliged.

Liverpool could have had a quick second but for the fast reactions of Juan Musso in the home goal, rushing off his line to smother from Luis Diaz. There was a warning sign that the Reds couldn’t afford to be too pedal to the metal, though, with Alisson's reflexes required to stop a deflected cross from Teun Koopmeiners – an eventual offside flag would have ruled it out anyway.

Atalanta grew into the game more and more as the first half progressed, waiting for Liverpool to make mistakes on the ball and spring rapid counter attacks. Aleksei Miranchuk and Gianluca Scamacca were proving to both be handfuls of the Reds' back four. At the other end, there were several occasions where Liverpool were guilty of overplaying it or lacking quality in the final pass, allowing moves to break down before a proper chance could be created.

Salah squandered a glorious opportunity in the closing stages before half-time when racing onto Cody Gakpo's measured ball over the top, but the attempted lob over Musso bounced awkwardly off his ankle rather than his foot and flew harmlessly wide. Almost immediately, the dangerous Koopmeiners had the ball in the net for Atalanta, only to see the flag go up – Ibrahima Konate’s last-second decision to step up was key to the goal not counting.

Once the second half got underway, a better finish from Ederson should have drawn the hosts level on the night – his tame shot as Atalanta put the pressure on was easily gathered. The Brazilian showed safe and strong hands at the hour mark when he held onto a powerful low Koopmeiners strike, a chance created when Gakpo was guilty of losing the ball.

Liverpool’s increasing raggedness prompted Klopp to make a triple substitution for the final 25 minutes in a bid to inject some fresh impetus. Ultimately, it did little to change things and, with Atalanta better able to manage the game, the tie slipped further and further away.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Liverpool hope / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 8/10 - Nothing spectacular, but a few important saves kept Liverpool's head above water in the tie and ensured they still had a chance of mounting a comeback.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 7/10 - Didn't look hugely sharp from a defensive standpoint, but a decent source of creativity and attacking impetus on his return to the starting lineup.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (c) - 6/10 - Suffered what appeared to be a dislocated finger just moments in and just breezed on.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 6/10 - Whether a piece of really intelligent defending or just a bit of dumb luck, his decision to step up, resulting in Koopmeiners being offside when putting the ball into the net, prevented Atalanta from killing the tie off in the first half.

LB: Andrew Robertson - 6/10 - Facing up against ex-Chelsea wng-back Davide Zappacosta, who ended up being a good outlet for Atalanta.

CM: Dominik Szoboszlai - 5/10 - Didn't have the desired impact given that Liverpool were chasing the tie and needed more.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 5/10 - His creativity suffered because of Atalanta's pressing and work off the ball. Often forced into sideways or backwards passes, or losing it by going long.

CM: Curtis Jones - 7/10 - Unnecessarily invited Atalanta counters with some slack first half passes, but his accuracy was overall very high. Won the ball back plenty too.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 5/10 - Converted the early penalty without fuss, but his general play was unusually lacking quality and confidence. A poor miss late in the first half summed it up and Klopp chose to bring him off well before the end, even when Liverpool needed more goal.

ST: Cody Gakpo - 6/10 - Showed some good touches in and around the box, but didn't see enough of the ball and it often wasn't sticking as the 'number nine' when it did come.

LW: Luis Diaz - 6/10 - Showed plenty of desire to cause problems but was ultimately well marshalled by the defence and things didn't fall for him.


SUB: Diogo Jota (67' for Diaz) - 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (67' for Szoboszlai) - 6/10

SUB: Darwin Nunez (67' for Salah) - 6/10

SUB: Joe Gomez (72' for Alexander-Arnold) - 5/10

SUB: Jayden Danns (80' for Robertson) - 5/10

Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Adrian (GK), Kostas Tsimikas, Jarell Quansah, Wataru Endo, Ryan Gravenberch, Bobby Clark.


Jurgen Klopp - 5/10 - Came into this one hoping to draw on memories of 2019 against Barcelona, but his team lacked the necessary energy and bite. Substitution did little to change things.

Player of the match - Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta)