Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Date & Time – Wednesday, November 25th 2020 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 8/13, Draw 7/2, Atalanta 15/4
This group of Liverpool players just keep surprising us, don’t they? With so many first-team regulars out injured, Jürgen Klopp has had to call on the squad’s fringe players more than any of us would have anticipated. However, with the hectic schedule imposed on players over the coming months, it’s only likely to get worse. Yet, The Reds are coping pretty well, aren’t they? What a squad. What a boss and what a backroom team.
Diogo Jota has started his Anfield career better than we could have ever hoped. Players like Takumi Minamino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago Alcântara, Kostas Tsimikas, Curtis Jones and maybe Neco Williams are sure to play a huge part as the campaign progresses, both domestically and in Europe. The journey continues this Wednesday night with Atalanta visiting Merseyside for the first time in history.
Three more points and guaranteed qualification for the knockout stages, please Reds…
Liverpool have won all three of their Champions League games so far. They have a goal difference of 8-0 in those games too. A win on Wednesday means The Reds will have secured qualification for the knockout stages after four games, giving the opportunity for further rotation in the final two games.
Klopp will surely be going all out for that win so he can rest his top players as the schedule gets more and more hectic in December. Then again, there’s never really a game that The Reds’ boss doesn’t actually go for the win, is there?!…
On Saturday evening, Liverpool were absolutely brilliant against Leicester City, winning 3-0 with only one first-team defender available for selection. The strength-in-depth at the club now is hugely impressive. It’s hard to imagine anything other than another Reds victory this week.
Atalanta are currently 7th in Serie A. They drew their two games since losing to Liverpool on November 3rd (1-1 at home to Internazionale, 0-0 away to Spezia).
They are third in this Champions League group, just behind Ajax on goal difference with both sides on four points.
Gian Piero Gasperini will be slightly concerned that his side has managed just one win in their last six games in all competitions. That was a 2-1 victory away to Crotone in late October.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keïta for this game.
Mohamed Salah is reported to be available again after his latest COVID-19 test came back negative.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago Alcântara and Xherdan Shaqiri could all miss out but they are all close to returning to full fitness.
Jurgen Klopp may opt to start Kostas Tsimikas at left-back against Atalanta, considering the number of minutes Andy Robertson has already accumulated, both for Liverpool and Scotland this season.
James Milner will probably keep his place at right-back in Alexander-Arnold’s absence. Joël Matip and Fabinho were excellent as a centre-back pairing against Leicester City so should continue at the heart of The Reds’ defence.
Jordan Henderson could return in midfield alongside Gini Wijnaldum, allowing Klopp to change to a 4-2-3-1 formation. This means that Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah could all start.
Klopp is very likely to use all five subs again as Liverpool will have to consider their game on Saturday too – the early kick-off away to Brighton in the Premier League.
Atalanta Team News
Atalanta will be without Mattia Caldara and Matteo Ruggeri on Wednesday night. Ruslan Malinovskiy is also a doubt after testing positive for COVID-19 during the international break.
Fabio Depaoli and Cristiano Piccini will both face late fitness tests for the Serie A outfit.
Gian Piero Gasperini favours a 3-4-2-1 formation. Whether he decides to change from that following the 5-0 defeat they suffered at Liverpool’s hands earlier this month remains to be seen. You’d have to think it’s very possible they could try a different shape, however.
Duván Zapata will lead from the front for the visitors.
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Milner, Matip, Fabinho, Tsimikas; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
Atalanta XI (3-4-2-1) – Sportiello; Tolói, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic, Gómez; Zapata
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 5-0 in Bergamo earlier this month. That was the first-ever meeting between the teams in a competitive fixture. Diogo Jota was the star of the show, scoring a hat-trick for Liverpool. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané also managed to get on the scoresheet in one of the most compete Liverpool performances of the last few years.
LIVERPOOL 3 – 1 ATALANTA
Liverpool should take all three points again but Gian Piero Gasperini and his team will have studied where they went wrong in the last meeting. It should be a tougher encounter on Wednesday night at Anfield with Duván Zapata possibly snatching a goal for the visitors. He gave Alisson and the Liverpool defence a few scares in the game in Italy so he might eventually bag a goal against The Reds.