Virgil van Dijk explains why Liverpool couldn't mount Europa League comeback

  • Liverpool knocked out of Europa League by Atalanta at quarter-final stage
  • Reds beaten 3-1 on aggregate and failed to overturn three-goal deficit from first leg
  • Virgil van Dijk explained reasons for his side not mounting another European comeback
Liverpool are out of Europe
Liverpool are out of Europe / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk believes his side gave themselves too much to do in order to complete a comeback in their Europa League quarter-final with Atalanta, though they did not make life any easier in the second leg with their impatience.

The Reds were among the strong favourites to go all the way in this season's Europa League but have been dumped out at the last-eight stage following a 3-1 aggregate defeat.

Atalanta pulled off a stunning 3-0 win at Anfield last week, but the hosts' nerves were jangling when Mohamed Salah scored an early penalty during the second leg back in Bergamo. However, Liverpool did not add to that goal and their dream of securing one last European trophy in the Jurgen Klopp era has ended.

Mohamed Salah
Salah's penalty gave Liverpool hope / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Speaking to TNT Sports post-match, Van Dijk admitted Atalanta were deserving of their place in the semi-finals.

"First, credit to Atalanta, the damage was done last week and we were very poor," a deflated Van Dijk said. "They had the perfect game and they deserved to go through. We made it far too difficult for ourselves last week.

"Today was a good game, a great fight and we won but it does not feel like it. It's an improvement but the reality is that we are out and we have to very quickly turn this around and travel to London on Sunday [to face Fulham]. We all have a responsibility to be ready for it physically and mentally. We are disappointed to be out of the competition as we really wanted to win it.

"We need everyone for the last push and that is the feeling that I am getting now. We tried to [capitalise on the early goal]. We had some opportunities as well. Maybe at times, we wanted to play too quickly and everyone was keen to get the second and eventually then the third. Overall, it was a better game than last week but it wasn't enough."