Home Sports Liverpool player ratings: Van Dijk earns a disappointing 3/10 as Atalanta stun Reds

Liverpool player ratings: Van Dijk earns a disappointing 3/10 as Atalanta stun Reds

Liverpool player ratings: Van Dijk earns a disappointing 3/10 as Atalanta stun Reds


A lacklustre Liverpool side made a poor start to their Europa League quarterfinal as they lost 3-0 to Atalanta in the first leg at Anfield.

The visitors almost got in front early on when finding Mario Pašalić inside the box, only to be denied by the head of the on-rushing Caoimhín Kelleher.

Darwin Núñez should have had the Reds ahead when he was unlocked into space by Curtis Jones, but the Uruguay international got the finish all wrong when placing his effort off target.

La Dea’s man-marking system continued to cause problems for Liverpool, and they eventually got their reward in the 38th minute when Davide Zappacosta‘s cross found Gianluca Scamacca, whose effort went in off the hands of Kelleher. The Liverpool goalkeeper redeemed himself moments later to prevent his side going in 2-0 down at the break.

The home side showed signs of life in the second half as Mohamed Salah, introduced as part of a triple substitution, forced a stop from Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso before Núñez couldn’t redeem himself for his earlier miss when hitting off target again.

But Jurgen Klopp soon saw his side go 2-0 down as Scamacca calmly placed the ball past Kelleher to register his brace with no defender around him. Salah was marginally offside which saw his effort ruled out, and things got even worse for Liverpool when Pašalić secured a three-goal advantage for Atalanta heading into the second leg.

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Cody Gakpo was the only positive performance-wise for Liverpool, in one of his best displays in recent weeks. The Reds also welcomed back Diogo Jota, who will be vital going forward.


Liverpool now have a mountain to climb in the second leg. It was one of the worst performances of the season in a trip to Anfield for Atalanta that turned out to be a stroll. The Serie A side were well worth their victory given the amount of chances they made.

Manager rating (out of 10)

Jürgen Klopp, 6 — Jurgen Klopp wasn’t happy with his side’s first-half performance and didn’t waste time making changes with a triple substitution at half-time. His changes did see some more chances created, but he was let down by an overall poor performance.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best)

GK Caoimhin Kelleher, 5 — The Republic of Ireland international was let down by his defence. While he could have done better with the first goal that went in off him, it could have been a worse scoreline without him.

DF Kostas Tsimikas, 4 — Tsimikas was caught too high up the pitch frequently, and it was down his side where Atalanta created two big chances — scoring one of them. Replaced at halftime by Andy Robertson.

DF Ibrahima Konaté, 3 — Sometimes struggled to transition the ball into forward areas as Liverpool continued to turnover possession against Atalanta’s strict man-marking system. Couldn’t seem to keep close to Scamacca.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 3 — Stood off Zappacosta which allowed him to get the ball into Scamacca for the opener, and looked to be the player who played him onside for the second goal. Liverpool’s defence had to be better with their organisation on the night.

DF Joe Gomez, 3 — Both Gomez and Konaté didn’t seem to be in sync with each other at times, with a big gap left for Atalanta’s second. The 26-year-old was forced forward to help chase the game, but could only produce some wasteful efforts from range.

MF Wataru Endo, 5 — Struggled to break up play and get a hold of the game, and he could have been better at transitioning the ball forward.

MF Alexis Mac Allister, 5 — Mac Allister kept things simple in midfield against a difficult Atalanta set-up, but he wasn’t as influential as he has been in recent weeks.

MF Curtis Jones, 6 — Another important 45 minutes for Jones who is coming back from injury, and he was unlucky not to get an assist after Núñez didn’t finish his incisive pass.

FW Cody Gakpo, 8 — The Netherlands international was one of Liverpool’s standouts in attack and thrived when running directly with the ball after drifting inside from the left flank. Intelligent play in the second half saw him set up Salah and then Núñez in the space of two minutes. He finished the game with five key passes.

FW Darwin Núñez, 4 — Things didn’t come off for the Liverpool forward on the night, which started when he was wasteful with his first chance of the game. Had a chance to redeem himself in the second half but was off-target again.

FW Harvey Elliott, 6 –– Unlucky with his well-struck effort in the first half that hit under the crossbar and then the inside of the post. Taken off at halftime with Klopp introducing Salah.


Andy Robertson (Tsimikas, 46′) 6 — The Scotland international made an impact on the left and was involved in positive play, with some standout link-up play with Gakpo.

Mohamed Salah (Elliott, 46′) 6 — Forced a strong stop from the Atalanta goalkeeper Musso in the 55th minute at the near post. A marginal offside saw his effort ruled out after connecting with Robertson’s pass.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Jones, 46′) 5 — Szoboszlai helped stretch the play by making direct runs behind the defence, but he didn’t really get a chance to get on the ball in any dangerous areas.

Luis Díaz (Núñez, 59′) 5 — Drove forward with the ball from central areas but was let down by his final ball.

Diogo Jota (Endo, 76′) N/R — Almost won a penalty within seconds of being introduced. Looked to be the only player picking up intelligent areas inside the box late-on.


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