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Liverpool vs Atalanta: UEFA Champions League background, form guide, previous meetings

Fresh from inflicting Atalanta's heaviest home European defeat, Liverpool welcome the Italian side to Anfield with the last 16 in sight.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota after scoring one of his three goals in Bergamo
Liverpool's Diogo Jota after scoring one of his three goals in Bergamo Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Fresh from inflicting Atalanta's heaviest home European defeat, Liverpool welcome the Italian side to Anfield with the last 16 in sight.

• The six-time winners were 5-0 victors in Bergamo last time out, Diogo Jota's hat-trick helping to secure an emphatic victory; it was the first time Atalanta had lost a home European tie by more than one goal.

• That made it three Group D wins from three for Liverpool, who will qualify for the round of 16 with another victory at Anfield. Atalanta are level with Ajax on four points, four above debutants Midtjylland.

Form guide

Highlights: Atalanta 0-5 Liverpool

• The Reds have won all three games in this season's competition without conceding, beating Ajax (1-0) and Midtjylland (2-0) before the win at Atalanta. Only Chelsea have also kept three clean sheets.

• Liverpool were champions of England for the 19th time in 2019/20, their first league title since 1990.

• The Reds are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 13th time; they have only failed to progress to the last 16 or further three times.

• Jürgen Klopp's side finished top of Group E in 2019/20, recovering from losing their opening fixture 2-0 at Napoli to advance with 13 points ahead of the Italian club, who also drew 1-1 at Anfield. There were two wins against both Genk (4-1 a, 2-1 h) and Salzburg (4-3 h, 2-0 a), the latter success on Matchday 6 sealing progress.

• Liverpool had won their sixth European Cup in 2018/19, but their defence of the trophy came to a halt in the round of 16, Atlético de Madrid winning 1-0 in Spain and, after extra time, 3-2 at Anfield. The latter result ended Liverpool's 25-match unbeaten home run in Europe (W18 D7), since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on 22 October 2014, and was their first aggregate defeat in 12 two-legged knockout ties.

• Liverpool have won 12 of their last 18 European fixtures (D2 L4).

• The Reds' record at home against Italian teams is W8 D1 L4, though they were defeated in two of the last six (W3 D1).

• Liverpool have met Italian clubs in four European Cup finals, winning two (against Roma in 1984 and AC Milan in 2005) and losing two (against Juventus in 1985 and Milan in 2007).


Reaction from Liverpool's hat-trick hero Jota

• Atalanta started Group D with a 4-0 win at Midtjylland, their biggest UEFA Champions League victory, but then had to come from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Ajax prior to losing against Liverpool.

• Debutants in 2019/20, this is Atalanta's second successive UEFA Champions League appearance after they finished third in Serie A last season.

• Initially it appeared as if the Bergamo club's first taste of the competition would prove brief, Atalanta losing their first three UEFA Champions League matches, against Dinamo Zagreb (0-4 a), Shakhtar Donetsk (1-2 h) and Manchester City (1-5 a). However, a point at home against City on Matchday 4 (1-1) proved the catalyst for a remarkable revival, the Italian side beating Dinamo 2-0 at home and Shakhtar 3-0 away to snatch second place in the group behind City.

• Even better was to follow in the round of 16, Atalanta beating Valencia 4-1 at home and 4-3 away with Josip Iličić becoming the first player to score four times in a UEFA Champions League knockout match in the latter fixture.

2019/20 highlights: Valencia 3-4 Atalanta

• Atalanta looked set to continue their magical run thanks to Mario Pašalić's first-half goal in their quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain, but the French side struck twice in the closing moments to end their adventure.

• Defeat by Paris in Lisbon ended Atalanta's club record four-match winning streak in Europe.

• The Italian club have lost only six of their last 26 European games (W12 D8).

• This is Atalanta's 48th European match, and their eighth campaign in continental competition. They reached the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals in 1987/88 and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals three years later.

• Atalanta have won their last three European away games, scoring 11 goals and conceding three, and six of the last ten (D1 L3).

• Their two games with City last season and the home match against Liverpool aside, Atalanta's only other fixtures against an English club came in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage, when they beat Liverpool's local rivals Everton 3-0 at home and 5-1 away. Alejandro Gómez scored in the home game in Reggio Emilia and Robin Gosens was on target on Merseyside.

Links and trivia

Salah praise for Jota after Liverpool treble

• Have played in Italy:
Mohamed Salah (Fiorentina 2015, Roma 2015–17)
Alisson Becker (Roma 2016–18)
Xherdan Shaqiri (Internazionale 2015)

• Thiago Alcántara was born in Italy in 1991, when his father Mazinho was playing for Lecce.

• Have played in England:
Marten de Roon (Middlesbrough 2016/17)
Pierluigi Gollini (Aston Villa 2016)

• Pašalić joined Chelsea in 2014 but never played for the first team, having several loan spells elsewhere before signing for Atalanta on a permanent deal in June 2020.

• Have played together:
Fabinho & Mario Pašalić (Monaco 2015/16)

• International team-mates:
Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum & Marten de Roon, Hans Hateboer (Netherlands)
Xherdan Shaqiri & Remo Freuler (Switzerland)

Latest news

Matchday 3 Player of the Week: Diogo Jota

• Diogo Jota is the joint leading scorer in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League with four goals.

• Jota was on target again on Sunday in a 3-0 Premier League win against Leicester at Anfield, making him the first Liverpool player to score in his first four home top-flight appearances.

• That made it 64 home league games unbeaten for Liverpool (W53 D11), setting a new club record by beating the mark set in December 1980.

• Liverpool's five-match winning run in all competitions was ended by a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on 8 November. Sunday's win means they are unbeaten in eight games (W6 D2).

• Mohamed Salah has scored in his last four Liverpool appearances, although he missed Sunday's win due to the illness that also sidelined him for Egypt's November internationals.

• The Premier League champions won their first three games of the new league season but then suffered a remarkable defeat in their fourth, losing 7-2 at Aston Villa on 4 October. It was the first time Liverpool had conceded seven goals in a game since April 1963, in a 7-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

• Liverpool were also the first reigning English champions to concede seven goals in a league match since September 1953, when Arsenal lost 7-1 at Sunderland.

• Liverpool finished 18 points clear of Manchester City in last season's Premier League and won 26 of their first 27 matches; they did not suffer a first defeat until their 28th game, going down 3-0 at Watford on 29 February.

• On 17 October Salah scored Liverpool's second in the 2-2 derby draw at Everton, his 100th goal for the club on his 159th appearance. Only Roger Hunt (144 games) and Jack Parkinson (153) have reached the mark for the Reds in fewer matches.

• Jürgen Klopp's side have conceded 19 goals in their 15 games in all competitions this season; Sunday's win was only their sixth clean sheet, three of them coming in the UEFA Champions League.

• Liverpool have twice lost 5-4 on penalties to Arsenal this season; at Wembley in the Community Shield on 29 August (after a 1-1 draw) and at Anfield in the last 16 of the English League Cup on 1 October (0-0).

• On 12 November, Andy Robertson captained Scotland as they beat Serbia on penalties after a 1-1 draw in their UEFA EURO 2020 play-off final in Belgrade to reach next summer's finals.

Highlights: Serbia 1-1 Scotland (4-5 pens)

• Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice in the Netherlands' 3-1 UEFA Nations League victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 November and then hit a late winner in a 2-1 victory against Poland three days later.

• On 15 November Sadio Mané's late winner gave Senegal a 1-0 victory at home to Guinea-Bissau that booked their place in the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals; the same day, Naby Keïta was on target in Guinea's 1-1 draw against Chad.

• Roberto Firmino's goal gave Brazil a 1-0 victory against Venezuela in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying on 13 November, when a Takumi Minamino penalty earned Japan a 1-0 friendly win against Panama.

• Also on 13 November, Curtis Jones scored his first goal for England's Under-21 side in a 3-1 UEFA European Championship qualifying win against Andorra.

• Jordan Henderson was withdrawn at half-time in England's 2-0 UEFA Nations League defeat in Belgium on 15 November with a thigh injury and missed Liverpool's weekend match.

• Joe Gomez damaged a tendon in his left knee in training with England on 11 November and underwent surgery the following day. He is expected to be sidelined for several months.

• Trent Alexander-Arnold was substituted just past the hour against Manchester City with a calf problem and has not played since.

• Fabinho was withdrawn in the first half on Matchday 2 having suffered a hamstring injury but returned to play 90 minutes against Leicester on Sunday.

• Naby Keïta had to be replaced early in the second half against Leicester.

• Virgil van Dijk is facing a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury at Everton.

• Thiago also picked up a knee problem at Everton and has not played since.

• Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out since 26 July due to a knee injury.

Memorable Liverpool goals under Klopp

• On 8 October Klopp celebrated five years at Liverpool manager; his 60% win ratio at that stage is the best in the club's history.

• On 15 November Ray Clemence, who made 665 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions between 1967 and 1981, passed away aged 72. He won five league titles with the club, an FA Cup and an English League Cup, in addition to the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1977, 1978 and 1981 and the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976, plus the 1977 UEFA Super Cup.

• Atalanta were held 0-0 at Spezia on Saturday, ending a run of scoring in 16 successive Serie A away games, their longest streak in the Italian top flight.

• After the 5-0 home defeat against Liverpool, Atalanta came from behind to draw 1-1 against fellow UEFA Champions League contenders Internazionale, Aleksei Miranchuk scoring their goal on his Serie A debut.

• Miranchuk had also scored on his first Atalanta appearance, in the 4-0 UEFA Champions League win against Midtjylland on 21 October. The Russian had scored in his first two appearances for Atalanta, both as substitute, before drawing a blank as a replacement on Saturday.

• Robin Gosens (calf) and Marten de Roon (thigh) returned on Saturday having been out since the 3-1 home defeat against Sampdoria on 24 October.

• Defender Mattia Caldara is likely to be sidelined until the new year after undergoing knee surgery in early October.

• Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini made his first appearance this season at Spezia after recovering from a knee injury; he had been on the bench for Atalanta's previous four games.

• Ruslan Malinovskyi (illness) is also sidelined.

• José Luis Palomino missed the game against Inter with a thigh injury but returned at Spezia.

• Goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi kept a clean sheet in a 4-0 win away to Luxembourg on 15 November that secured Italy's place in the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Remo Freuler scored in Switzerland's 1-1 UEFA Nations League draw against Spain on 14 November.

• Matteo Pessina made his Italy debut in the 4-0 friendly win against Estonia on 11 November.

• Mario Pašalić scored in Croatia's 3-3 draw against Turkey the same day.

Highlights: Slovenia 2-1 Kosovo

• Josip Iličić converted an added-time penalty as Slovenia defeated Kosovo 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League on 15 November.

• Alejandro Gómez was included in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League squad of the season.

• Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini finished fifth in the ranking for the UEFA Men's Coach of the Year award.