Liverpool v Atalanta – Europa League Quarter Final 1st Leg Preview

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Liverpool v Atalanta – Europa League Quarter Final 1st Leg Preview

Following the hugely disappointing weekend draw at Old Trafford, the hope is that frustrations can be taken out on visiting Atalanta, who arrive on Merseyside for the first leg of their Quarter Final tie. The reds are not entirely out of form; however, an injection of goodwill and a strong performance is most certainly needed this coming midweek.

The Atalanta Availability

In terms of availability, Giorgio Scalvini appears to be the only absentee for the Italian’s veteran manager, Gian Piero Gasperini.

Regarding recent form, the Serie A club lost their most recent match as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Cagliari. The midweek leading to that defeat was again a poor showing, as their first leg Coppa Italia 1-0 loss at Fiorentina confounded a pair of losses in a week. A 0-3 demolition of Napoli proceeded those two games, which makes the form of Liverpool’s opposition somewhat questionable. After 30 games played, Atalanta sit 6th in Serie A with 50-points taken.

A predicted line up for the visitors is listed below, in a 3-4-1-2 formation. A patient and deep block will be incorporated as counter attacks will be utilised with Liverpool taking on much of the possession.

GK – Marco Carnesecchi

RWB – Hans Hateboer

RCB – Rafael Tolói

CB – Berat Djimsiti

LCB – Sead Kolašinac

LWB – Davide Zappacosta

CDM – Marten de Roon

CM – Éderson

ACM – Teun Koopmeiners

CF – Ademola Lookman

CF – Gianluca Scamacca

The Liverpool Availability

In terms of injures, Thiago Alcântara remains on the missing list (perhaps forever), however, Stefan Bajčetić, Trent Alexander Arnold, Diogo Jota, and Alisson Becker, are now back in team training. All those players will be brought along slowly, however, one of those may make the Anfield bench. Joël Matip has sustained a season ending ACL injury, one that may have seen him play his last game for the club.

Regarding recent league form, Liverpool failed to overcome United at Old Trafford in their 2-2 draw, despite the utter dominance by the reds in the first half. That game came a few days after a solid 3-1 home win against Sheffield United, following a 2-1 win over Brighton the weekend prior. In the previous round of the Europa League, the Anfield giants overcame Sparta Prague (over two legs), recording a very one sided 11-2 aggregate score. The reds currently sit 2nd in the Premier, level on points with 1st placed Arsenal, though edged out by the lesser goal difference.

Below is the team I believe the reds German manager will start on Thursday, which will be chosen to try and end the tie at the first attempt.

GK – Caoimhin Kelleher

RB – Joe Gomez

RCB – Ibrahima Konaté

LCB – Virgil van Dijk (c)

LB – Kostas Tsimikas

RCM – Curtis Jones

CDM – Wataru Endō

LCM – Alexis Mac Allister

RF – Harvey Elliott

CF – Cody Gakpo

LF – Luis Díaz

How Will This Contest Play Out

I believe the reds will win this game comfortably and enable a rotated second leg next week. The game under Anfield lights will leave their visitors startled and the lacklustre performance from the weekend will be taken out upon the Italian side, with a ferocious start expected.

Gianluca Scamacca will offer a good serial threat for the away side, as the former West Ham striker will look to show the English spectators what he is capable of.

Player to watch – Harvey Elliott

Score Prediction;

Liverpool 4 – 1 Atalanta

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