Atalanta vs Liverpool: What did Jurgen Klopp make about their second-half performance?

The Reds secured a 1-0 win in Italy but it was not enough for them to reach the semi-final since they lost the reverse leg 3-0 at home.

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@LFC
By Karthik Raman | Apr 20, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Liverpool exited from the Europa League despite winning the second leg of the quarter-finals away from home. The Reds secured a 1-0 win in Italy on Thursday night but it was not enough for them to reach the semi-final since they lost the reverse leg 3-0 at home. That heavy first-leg defeat at Anfield last week proved costly for the Reds. Their latest elimination means Jurgen Klopp’s side are out of all the cup competitions, with the Premier League being their only realistic title opportunity in the final weeks of the season.

The last week was one to forget for Liverpool. They started by dropping points at Old Trafford against Manchester United in a 2-2 draw, which cost them the top spot in the Premier League table. They followed it by losing 3-0 at home to Atalanta in the Europa League quarter-final first leg and then suffered another defeat at Anfield in the league against Crystal Palace. That damaging week of results has already resulted in their elimination from Europe. It could even end up having a significant consequence on their league title hopes.

Jurgen Klopp on second-half performance

Liverpool did respond well in the second leg against Atalanta by taking an early lead through a Mohamed Salah penalty and also maintained the pressure by creating other good chances in the first half. However, they were unable to score from it and struggled to maintain that tempo in the second period. Speaking about the difference in their performance during the first and second half, Jurgen Klopp, quoted on the club’s website, said in his post-match press conference, “Look, the biggest problem for us in the second half was that we couldn’t keep that tempo.”

He added: “For us, you saw tonight in Trent Alexander-Arnold which player we didn’t have for a while now. As long as he was fresh, together with Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] he set the tempo, the rhythm, the direction of the game. Obviously he was a bit running a bit out of gas. Macca had to go through this game, which is crazy and the way he did it was absolutely insane, but that was the difference. We can do that usually [keep the tempo] but tonight it was not that easy. If we could have kept a higher rhythm a bit longer, I think whatever Atalanta changed in the second half was not [the reason]. In the first half they pressed really high, what they did in the end again, in the middle of the game maybe not that much so that’s how it is, but that was not the difference.”

Klopp also believed that if Liverpool scored the second goal, things could have become tricky for the Italian side. “I think tonight when we were really in the game we were difficult to play and in other moments we were easier to defend. We didn’t have enough chances for this. We have to create a little bit more than we did in the first half already because it is always clear you need the results to help to destabilise the opponent a little bit – if you have a second goal, then it is a tricky one and each ball and the next goal is extra-time, but we didn’t get to that point so we will never really know how that would have looked. But again, how I said, Atalanta deserve to go through and I am fine with that. I don’t want to go through if you don’t deserve it so it’s all good,” he elaborated.

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