Opposition Analysis: Liverpool Face the Europa League Underdogs

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Analysing Liverpool’s Europa League Opponents: The Dark Horses

When the Europa League Quarter-Final draw was made, many tipped Liverpool for a comfortable progression past their opponents, Atalanta. Although that could still happen due to Liverpool’s strong team on paper – Atalanta could still cause the Reds major problems.

From Liverpool-linked stars and a very physical style of play, Liverpool could be in for a really tricky test in their pursuit of the Europa League trophy. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at Liverpool’s Quarter-Final opponents…

Current Form

Atalanta currently sit 6th in the Italian top flight, with 15 wins in their 30 league games so far this season. The Italian outfit currently sit in the Europa Conference League spots and are five points off Roma in 5th place, but with a game in hand.

They come into Thursday’s game in a patchy run of form though, with just two wins in their last nine games across all competitions. Atalanta fell victim to defeats from the likes of Inter Milan, Bologna, Fiorentina and Cagliari during that nine game run.

However, there two victories in that time were both impressive triumphs against Napoli and Ruben Amorim’s Sporting Lisbon side.

Photo: IMAGO

Head-to-Head

Liverpool last met Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League Group Stages back in the 2020/21 season. The Reds pulled off a brilliant 5-0 away win on that occasion, thanks to a sensational hat-trick from Diogo Jota. However, Atalanta did retaliate with a very impressive 2-0 win at Anfield in the return fixture.

Key Players

Teun Koopmeiners

26-year-old midfielder, Teun Koopmeiners, has been constantly linked with a move to Anfield over recent seasons and could face another summer of speculation over the next few months. The Dutchman is enjoying a sensational season with Atalanta – attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Juventus.

Photo: IMAGO

Kooppmeiners has managed 13 goals and four assists so far this season for Atalanta, which is a brilliant return for a midfielder. However, he has struggled to find the same sort of form in the Europa League with just one assist in his seven appearances in the competition so far.

Charles De Ketelaere

The 23-year-old Belgian forward has quickly become an integral part of Atalanta’s side recently. De Ketelaere has had a fairly prolific season, scoring ten goals and assisting a further seven.

Despite being described as a forward regularly, the youngster is actually more of an attacking midfielder in Atalanta’s system and his physicality and power could make him a handful for Liverpool’s midfielders.

Ademola Lookman

Former Everton winger, Ademola Lookman, has completely turned his career around since joining Atalanta back in 2022. After failed spells at the likes of Leicester City and Fulham, the Nigerian is making waves over in the Serie A.

Lookman has nine goals and four assists to his name so far this season, but his overall game has come on massively since his time in the Premier League. His pace and flair could certainly provide a tricky test for Liverpool’s full-backs on Thursday.

Score Prediction

Despite all of these potential dangers to look out for, I still think Liverpool will pull take away a solid lead from the first leg at Anfield. With Giorgio Scalvini sidelined through injury, Atalanta’s defence could be considerably weaker than usual, which the likes of Mo Salah and Luis Diaz will definitely look to exploit.

However, I also struggle to see Liverpool keeping a clean sheet due to Atalanta’s powerful attacking prowess combined with the Reds’ recent patchy defensive record at Anfield.

Liverpool 3-1 Atalanta

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