Liverpool player ratings, winners and losers vs Atalanta as seven poor and Szoboszlai sums it up

Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai.
Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai. -Credit:Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

ANFIELD, LIVERPOOL // Liverpool needs to produce another miracle European comeback next week when it faces the return against Atalanta. In a complacent and dire performance at Anfield, the Reds find themselves 3-0 down.

Mario Pašalić had missed a huge chance in the opening few minutes of the game, somehow putting the ball wide when it seemed easier to score. And it was Atalanta who looked the most dangerous, without needing to be anything particularly special. Liverpool invited chances left, right and center but the Italian side didn't fully capitalize.

Harvey Elliott hit the bar and the post in one shot as Liverpool began to liven up a bit and take control of the ball. That in turn awoke a quiet Anfield somewhat, with Curtis Jones curling one over the bar a few minutes later.

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It didn't last long, though, and Liverpool was sloppy in all areas from back to front. Had Charles De Ketelaere not been so insistent on backheeling rather than shooting, Atalanta could have been out of sight by the interval.

When Davide Zappacosta crossed for Gianluca Scamacca to open the scoring, it was nothing that the visitor hadn't deserved. As Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Díaz warmed up at that end of the pitch, it seemed likely the cavalry would be required.

Before the second half kicked off, Salah, Szoboszlai and Andy Robertson were all introduced, but nothing changed. Scamacca got a second that was remarkably easy for Atalanta and Liverpool never really threatened Juan Musso in the Serie A outfit's goal. When Pašalić was faced with a second open goal, he didn't miss and Atalanta deservedly went 3-0 ahead.

Atalanta knocked out Rúben Amorim's Sporting CP in the last-16 of this competition (3-2 on aggregate) but didn't look anything particularly amazing here. This was simply a poor showing from a struggling Liverpool team. It is that, though, as well as Atalanta's profligacy in front of goal, that means the second leg could just about certainly yield a turnaround. On this evidence, however, that will be hugely optimistic.


Atalanta won the game and has a lead to defend at home in the second leg but it wasn't that the Italian side was particularly exceptional. Even so, it could have scored more than what it did. De Ketelaere, especially, was wasteful, and Liverpool could easily be completely out of the tie. That will be the visitor's only disappointment: that it didn't completely put things to bed.


Kostas Tsimikas only played 45 minutes and he looked rusty. He hasn't played more than a half of competitive soccer since getting the full match against Southampton in the FA Cup at the end of January, and it showed, though it is harsh to pick him out as a result. Not only were there mitigating circumstances, but he wasn't exactly the only one underperforming. Collectively, Liverpool didn't turn up.


Caoimhín Kelleher — 5

Should have done better with the opening goal and took a couple of big chances in possession when he didn't need to. There wasn't a great deal of movement in front of him, in fairness, and he did make a big stop when Teun Koopmeiners was through on goal.

Joe Gomez — 5

Poor in possession (though less so than a few of his teammates) and this was hardly a sensational showing from him. A number of times, he gave it away too easily or was caught dallying.

Ibrahima Konaté — 5

A little sloppy in possession and positionally all over the place in the first half, which led to a couple of Atalanta players being allowed to go through on goal. Also played a simple pass straight out for a throw-in at one point.

Virgil van Dijk — 6

The Dutch defender was not as sharp as he often is in possession, but that again could be down to a lack of options in front of him more than anything else. Not as bad as many of those around him.

Kostas Tsimikas — 5

Looked really lacking match action, but that is no surprise given he hasn't played for a long time. His showing can be put down to a lack of rhythm and the only way to improve is to get time on the field.

Curtis Jones — 6

Looked like he needed the minutes in his legs. Gave the ball away far more often than he usually would and seemed to get crowded out in midfield as a result of the Gian Piero Gasperini man-marking system.

Wataru Endō — 5

Got the ball caught under his feet a couple of times and like the rest of the center of the pitch, was overran a little at times. He dropped very deep to pick up the ball but didn't do a great deal with it. Caused a couple of Atalanta counters by delaying giving the ball to someone.

Alexis Mac Allister — 6

His quietest performance for some time. He got kicked a couple of times and Atalanta's players were very keen to get on top of him at every opportunity.

Harvey Elliott — 6

He isn't a winger and doesn't have the pace to do what someone like Salah does in wide areas. It was therefore pretty harsh to see him come off at the interval, though that could be with the weekend in mind.

Darwin Núñez — 6

He won a free-kick on the edge of the area at one point but ran down a lot of blind alleys and lifted a couple of decent chances over the top when he should have done better. Didn't get involved that much and was rightly hooked.

Cody Gakpo — 5

The forward has looked a lot sharper in recent appearances but was sloppy here. One pass into Elliott would have been impressive had he pulled it off but he ended up putting far too much on it.


Mohamed Salah — 6

He was a threat to a point but Atalanta kept him quieter than Gasperini could have hoped for. There were just too many bodies in the way for the Egyptian to find a way through. Should have kept himself onside when he found the net at the back post.

Dominik Szoboszlai — 5

Added a lot more intensity in the middle of the pitch and some much-needed speed for all of five minutes. Like Jones, he didn't really have any space in which to operate and then gave the ball away far too easily for the third goal. That pretty much encapsulated the Liverpool performance in one moment.

Andy Robertson — 6

Added some sharpness down the left flank but things didn't get any better for Liverpool. He put a couple of decent balls into the box but there was little more than that to write home about.

Luis Díaz — 5

There was absolutely no room for him to work in down the left side and the Colombian didn't really change anything when he came on. It was a coincidence that the second Atalanta goal came just as he entered the field.

Diogo Jota — 6

Added some excitement to a drab Liverpool performance simply by making a return. But he was unable to provide any kind of proper spark for the Reds to get back into the tie.