Liverpool ratings: Salah gets 6/10 in elimination to Atalanta

Liverpool were eliminated from the Europa League quarterfinals by Atalanta on Thursday night as their 1-0 second-leg win saw them lose 3-1 on aggregate at Gewiss Stadium.

They got off to the perfect start when Mohamed Salah scored from the spot after the Reds were awarded a penalty for handball to cut the deficit to two.

A much-improved performance from Jürgen Klopp’s side in the opening 45 minutes saw them in control of the first half, and they should have been two up when Salah was through on goal before the break, only for him to lob the ball off target.

But Liverpool didn’t have as much joy in the second half as the attack struggled to make chances, with many of the passes over the top going straight to La Dea goalkeeper Juan Musso.

That saw hope begin to fade as time went on, and it was a similar story even after Klopp introduced Darwin Núñez, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott as part of a treble substitution. The Reds simply couldn’t ignite their attack and were slow towards the latter parts of the game, leading to a fairly comfortable night for the hosts in the end.

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Positives

Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s display was a promising one for Liverpool, who will need the sort of performance he delivered against Atalanta when playing in the Premier League. A clean sheet also provides a foundation to build on, with Liverpool’s best back four and goalkeeper back fit.

Negatives

Liverpool’s attack fizzled out in the second half in a performance in which they simply didn’t threaten enough. The Reds now only have the Premier League to go for.

Manager rating (out of 10)

Jürgen Klopp, 6 — Liverpool were a much better side with Klopp instructing his forward line to interchange much more frequently to disrupt Atalanta’s strict man-to-man marking system and they were also much more organised defensively. His substitutions were well-timed, but ultimately they didn’t deliver.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best)

GK Alisson, 7 — A confident figure between the posts who sometimes stepped up to build attacks when Atalanta were set deeper.

DF Andy Robertson, 7 — Robertson was tireless off the ball as he looked to get high up the left-flank to create an out ball for his team mates. His movement also saw him sometimes making an option in centre-forward areas.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Commanded the backline well when Atalanta were looking to play direct, catching them offside when Teun Koopmeiners had the ball in the net in the first half. Dominant when challenging for the ball.

DF Ibrahima Konaté, 7 — The France international was assured in his duels and relished the challenge against Atalanta’s forwards. A confident display from the 24-year-old.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 — An instrumental performance from Alexander-Arnold saw him at the heart of many of Liverpool’s best pieces of attacking play, during a match in which he displayed all of his passing ability to create chances. Substituted in the second half after 72 minutes which will be positive for his fitness.

MF Alexis Mac Allister, 6 — Pressed well from midfield and was aggressive in winning the ball back, but could have been better with his passing which wasn’t at its normal level.

MF Curtis Jones, 6 — Confident when on the ball during moments when he had time to run at the defence directly. Pressed aggressively from midfield in tandem with Mac Allister. Missed Dominik Szoboszlai after a good run was made into space in the 63rd minute.

MF Dominik Szoboszlai, 6 — Szoboszlai created space with some promising runs into space to disrupt Atalanta’s man-to-man system and always looked to play forwards, though he could have been a little more accurate at times.

FW Luis Díaz, 6 — A hard-working performance from Díáz saw him stretch the play down the left flank where Alexander-Arnold picked him out before Liverpool won a penalty. Brought his marker out of position with confident play dribbling with the ball.

FW Cody Gakpo, 7 — The Netherlands international continued his recent positive run of form and linked play well, setting up Salah for Liverpool’s best chance from open play in the first half. His movement also caused trouble for Atalanta’s defence.

FW Mohamed Salah, 6 — Salah clinically dispatched his penalty, but he really should have had a brace with his one-on-one that he put wide of the goal.

Substitutes

Darwin Núñez (Salah, 67′) 5 — Gave the ball away too many times in quick succession, and it was too late by the time Liverpool began to play more directly towards him.

Diogo Jota (Diaz, 67′) 5 — Struggled to make an impact on the game when introduced, with Atalanta aggressive in pressing him.

Harvey Elliott (Szoboszlai, 67′) 6 — Elliott worked hard to get into space from central areas but Liverpool couldn’t seem to get him on the ball enough.

Joe Gomez (Alexander-Arnold, 72′) 6 — On in place of Alexander-Arnold who has just returned from injury.

Jayden Danns (Robertson, 79′) N/R — A Europa League debut for the Liverpool academy graduate.