Liverpool crushed at Anfield by Atalanta, Leverkusen knocks out West Ham

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published yesterday at 11:18 p.m., Updated 1 hour ago

Salah et Liverpool font la moue. Molly Darlington / REUTERS

The Reds were swept away by the Italians this Thursday evening (0-3) in the quarter-final first leg of C3. Thunderclap.

Atalanta Bergamo crucified Liverpool at Anfield (3-0) Thursday in the quarter-final first leg of the Europa League, taking a strong option on qualification for the last four next Thursday in Italy. It was Liverpool’s first home defeat in all competitions in 14 months.

The Italians took the lead in the 38th minute through Gianluca Scamacca who scored twice in the 60th, Mario Pasalic hitting the nail on the head in the 83rd. Mohamed Salah had a goal disallowed for offside in the final minutes of the match but the Reds had already doomed themselves in the first half by missing numerous chances, notably by Darwin Nunez. “They deserved to win,” noted a disappointed Jürgen Klopp who sees his chances of ending his era with the Reds with a European title largely undermined. While still in contention for the Premier League title, the Reds collapsed against an opponent who appeared well within their reach.

Klopp decided to preserve his best players by making six changes from the team held to a 2-2 draw by Manchester City last Sunday. Salah started the match on the bench before returning at the start of the second half but without being able to respond to the view of the rediscovered Bergamasques. They had only won two of their previous nine matches in all competitions and are in 6th place in Serie A.

The score could have been even heavier in favor of the Italians with several missed chances, notably that of Teun Koopmeiners just before the break when he was alone against goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. Despite the entry of Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, Liverpool were unable to find the visitors’ net, always on the lookout and with dazzling counter-attacks. The Reds have already shown that they are capable of “comeback”, as against AC Milan in the final of the Champions League in 2005. Trailing 3-0 at half-time, they won in the shoot to the net.

Leverkusen, the undisputed leader of the Bundesliga, waited until the 83rd minute to open the scoring against West Ham on a goal from Jonas Hoffmann, who entered a few minutes earlier, then stunned the English by Victor Okoh Boniface (90+1) who had entered on the lawn at the same time as Hoffman.

In the Italian derby between AC Milan and Roma, it was the Giallorossi who won with a goal from Gianluca Mancini (17th), the Milanese, unable to come back to the score, having to concede defeat at home. In other Europa Conference League matches, Olympiacos won against Fenerbahçe 3-2. The Greeks led 3-0 before seeing the Turks score twice in six minutes (68th and 74th), announcing a heated return match in Istanbul next Thursday.

Club Brugge won against the Greeks PAOK (1-0) while the Czechs Viktoria Plzen and the Italians Fiorentina separated with a goalless draw.


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