Goals from Josip Iličić and Robin Gosens in the Second Half consigned Liverpool Fc to a 0-2 shock home loss to Atalanta BC in the Champions League 2020-21 Group D Match.
After missing Last Sunday’s Leicester City Premier League Home Match, Mohamed Salah made his return back to the line-up.
Konstantinos Tsimikas and Divock Origi were handed their starts by Jürgen Klopp while Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino formed part of the strong Substitutes bench. Nico Williams, Rhys Williams, Joël Matip and Tsimikas were lined up as the Reds back four.
The Reds looked completely different to the side that overran Atalanta BC more than a fortnight ago. The attack looked toothless without the in-form Diogo Jota and the performance was below par throughout the match.
There were plenty of warning signs from the Visitors as they were looking to set things right against the Reds. Just in the 9th minute, Alisson denied Robin Gosens after getting a hand at the near post.
It was pretty obvious that the Visitors were clearly targeting Nico Williams who looked flustered and the youngster kept conceding possessions but fortunately for the Reds, Atalanta BC’s attack were not clinical enough in the First Half.
Besides sloppy passing, registering just 1 shot summed up the timid Reds attacking display and Divock Origi continued to show why he is being overlooked in favour of Jota. The Beligan’s movements was even criticised by Jürgen Klopp during the First Half.
At the end of First Half, the Reds would be counting themselves lucky to scrape through with the score-line poised at 0-0 and needed to improve their performance greatly from the Second Half.
Shockingly without bringing on the Substitutes before the start of Second Half, Klopp opted to wait longer. The Visitors gleefully accepted the offer of Klopp’s refusal to bring on the better players as the Visitors ventured forward with more confidence looking to punish the Reds for their sloppiness.
It did not take long, as in the 59th minute Alejandro Gomez cross was met by an unmarked Josip Iličić as the Bosnian slotted the ball past Alisson to give the Visitors a well deserved lead.
With the Reds already losing the grip of the game, Klopp finally made 4 changes as Jota, Roberto Firmino, Andrew Robertson and Fabinho replaced Origi, Salah, Tsimikas and Georginio Wijnaldum in the 61st minute.
Shockingly, Curtis Jones and (worse of all) Neco Williams continued.
The Visitors made it 0-2 in the 64th minute as Robin Gosens struck the ball into the left corner of the net following a well directed headed pass from Hans Hateboer.
The Match by then was all wrapped up and the Reds still could not manage a single shot on target in what turned out to be an forgettable night marred with poor selection and lackadaisical performance as Atalanta BC held on to a 0-2 win.
Worryingly for the Reds, they could not manage a single shot on target in the entire match.
Reds Team Performance Ratings
Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)
Alisson – 6: Could do nothing with either of the Goals. Made a brilliant save to deny Robin Gosens in the First Half as the warning signs were already clear which Klopp failed to heed!
Nico Williams – 3: This kind of performance can never merit a place in the side. How in the World, the youngster lasted the entirety of the match. That itself is mind-numbing! The youngster looked clearly flustered and was out of his bounds besides getting repeatedly targeted by the Visitors.
Rhys Williams – 6: Decent Performance from the Youngster but could have done better to close down Gosens in the build to the Second Goal.
Joël Matip – 5: Wayward passes and somewhat fortunate to avoid conceding Goals during the First Half. Too slow to react and left an unmarked Iličić to have the simplest task to tap the ball in to the back of the net.
Konstantinos Tsimikas – 5: Looked rusty and made some few good crosses but that’s about it.
James Milner – 6: Could not do much to impact the game as the general dynamism of the Reds style of play was somewhat impaired by having too many inexperienced youngsters in the side.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Decent game with quick passes and distribution but was later substituted for Fabinho.
Curtis Jones – 5: One game too many. Clearly inexperienced and lacks the match temperament. Seldom tracked back to shield the defence and was ineffective going forward. The Last time, the Reds won 0-5 against the same opponents, the youngster got away with too many sloppy mistakes and the youngster kept going under the Radar as the Reds won their last matches that involved the youngster.
Sadio Mané – 4: Clearly frustrated by the lack of service from Midfield and having too many inexperienced players in the side clearly affected his rhythm.
Divock Origi – 4: The Belgian is proving why he is being constantly overlooked in favour of Jota as the Reds attack lacks cohesion and looks toothless.
Mohamed Salah – 5: Like Mané, lacked the service from Midfield and looked rusty since missing out action due to COVID-19.
Diogo Jota – 6: As soon as he was brought on, the Reds attack sprung a bit into life but the ship had long sailed by then!
Roberto Firmino – 5: The Brazilian was brought on too late and did not have enough time to dictate the game.
Andrew Robertson – 6: Could not do much due to insufficient time after being brought on too late. His introduction brought more drive and defensive solidity in the left flank.
Fabinho – 6: Could not make much impact with less than half an hour of the game left to play but at least brought compure in the Midfield.
Takumi Minamino – N/A: Way too late and perhaps the Japanese International could have done a far better job than Origi. His talent is clearly under-utilised and under-valued.
Jürgen Klopp – 3: Shocking Team selection. Kept gambling by persisting with youngsters and it was only a matter of time, that a match like today was waiting to happen.
Everyone would empathize Klopp’s situation that he is forced to deal with the Reds injury crisis but persisting today with Nico Williams that was baffling. Klopp is known for utilising his players but today, the responsibility of this loss should be solely on Klopp’s shoulder.
Perhaps should have brought on the better players in the Starting XI rather than look to far ahead and wrap up the game, then bring on the kids. Or even, Milner at Right Back and slot Minamino as a Left sided Midfielder. All…perhaps.
The Reds are due to play their next match in the Premier League against the hosts Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club (this weekend).
The club however, will be buyoed by the return of Jordan Henderson and hopefully Thiago Alcântara.
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