Atalanta put their recent struggles behind them at Anfield on Wednesday evening as they recorded a memorable European victory, beating Liverpool 2-0 in an excellent performance.
Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens bagged within four minutes of one another in the second half, but it was captain Papu Gomez who played the most instrumental role, assisting Ilicic’s opener and putting in the cross that Hans Hateboer nodded into Gosens’ path for the second.
The first 45 minutes came and went without too much in the way of chances, though Gian Piero Gasperini’s side would have been the happier of the two at the break with how things had unfolded.
With both Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel on the bench, La Dea were lacking a real focal point of their attack, and nominal forwards Papu Gomez and Ilicic regularly dropped deep to look to create things themselves.
Ilicic had a couple of sights at goal but was unable to trouble Alisson Becker with his efforts, while Gomez himself had a low shot that he sent wide.
The most threatening effort came from Gosens on the left. The German found himself in space out wide and looked to catch Alisson off guard, driving a powerful shot towards his near post. Reacting quickly, Alisson got a strong arm across to turn the strike wide.
Liverpool were limited to just one attempt in the first half, which Mohamed Salah sent over the crossbar.
The second half saw a slower start from the Bergamaschi, but there was no surprise when Papu Gomez delivered a stunning ball for Ilicic to open the scoring. Some patient play ended with the No.10 on the left, allowing him to deliver a perfect cross in front of Alisson’s goal, from where the Slovenian stretched to turn in his first goal of the season.
Klopp, though, responded by bringing on four substitutes, showing just what he had thought of the Reds’ performance in the first hour.
If the first didn’t come as a great shock, the second certainly did as Robin Gosens volleyed in another just moments later. Another patient move ended with that man Papu Gomez again delivering an inch-perfect cross to the back post. Hateboer climbed highest to nod to his opposite wing-back Gosens and the German side-footed a volley past Alisson.
From then, Atalanta looked to keep Liverpool at bay and use the ball wisely when they had it, with Gomez naturally their focal point at all times.