Europa League predictions: What to expect in the semi-final first legs

  • Four teams remain in 2023/24 Europa League
  • Bayer Leverkusen take on AS Roma in repeat of last season's semi-final
  • Liverpool slayers Atalanta take on Marseille
Bayer Leverkusen beat West Ham to advance into the Europa League semi-finals
Bayer Leverkusen beat West Ham to advance into the Europa League semi-finals / BEN STANSALL/GettyImages

Woah, woah, woah. Hang on a minute, this can't be right. Where are Liverpool?

It's got to be some mistake, right? Is Liverpool just 'Atalanta' in Italian? No?! But Reds success in Dublin was inevitable, wasn't it?

Liverpool's absence from the Europa League semi-finals certainly would've been hard to believe when the quarter-final draw was made, but Atalanta's stirring performance at Anfield set Gian Piero Gasperini's side up for their most memorable continental triumphs.

As is the case with the Champions League, there are no English representatives among the Europa League's final four after West Ham also bowed out.

The Italians are once again teaching the rest of the continent how to win knockout stage fixtures, while Germany's new dominant force and a historic behemoth from France make up the competition's remaining participants.

Here's how 90min envisages the Europa League semi-final first legs panning out.

Thursday 2 May

Florian Wirtz, Nicola Zalewski
AS Roma beat Bayer Leverkusen in last season's semi-finals / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Both first legs kick-off at 20:00 (GMT) on Thursday with Marseille taking on Liverpool slayers Atalanta, and AS Roma facing Bayer Leverkusen in a repeat of last season's semi-final.

Leverkusen are now favourites to win this competition having bypassed a banana skin in West Ham, with Xabi Alonso's side maturing considerably since they faced Jose Mourinho's Giallorossi last term.

Daniele De Rossi is now in charge at Roma, with the former midfielder enjoying a prosperous start to his managerial career in Rome. His side is varied, stubborn and blessed with a game-breaker in Paulo Dybala. They're built for success in Europe, but Leverkusen are the ultimate test given their meticulous dynamics, harmonious balance and never-say-die attitude.

However, the Romans are tough to beat at the Olimpico and Thursday's visitors might have to complete yet another comeback in the second leg to advance into the final.

Marseille's quarter-final performance wasn't quite as convincing as Atalanta's, and they're the underdogs in the other semi-final. The French club have plenty of pedigree, but this is far from a vintage iteration of OM.

They currently sit seventh in Ligue 1 but are unbeaten in four games. The Velodrome will be raucous for Atalanta's visit, but La Dea harbour no fears having prevailed at Anfield in the last eight. Gasperini's stars have found form during crunch time, but they have generally struggled away from home this season.

Atalanta surely aren't going to bow out with a whimper, but they might have some work to do in the return leg.

Kick-off Time (BST)




Marseille vs Atalanta



AS Roma vs Bayer Leverkusen