Liverpool need just a win at home to Atalanta in order to progress through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage. They are big favourites to do so after beating their upcoming opponents 5-0 in Italy three weeks ago. Andrew Delaney previews Wednesday night’s encounter and provides his best betting tips.
Who is playing?
Liverpool vs Atalanta
What competition are Liverpool and Atalanta playing in?
UEFA Champions League
When is Liverpool vs Atalanta?
20:00 GMT, Wednesday 25th November 2020
What stadium is hosting Liverpool vs Atalanta?
Anfield, Liverpool, England
What channel is Liverpool vs Atalanta on?
Liverpool vs Atalanta Summary
Arguably Europe’s two most potent attacking forces meet at Anfield for the second fixture in their double-header, mid-way through this Champions League group stage. Combined, they scored 182 goals in their domestic leagues last season, and they have continued in the same vein this season, with both projected to score a similar amount again. It was all one-sided in Bergamo on matchday three though, as Liverpool ran riot over an Atalanta side that never got going, winning 5-0 with all the goals coming inside 54 minutes, including a hat trick for new man Diogo Jota.
That eye-catching result three weeks ago means Jurgen Klopp’s side can confirm their place in the Last 16 with a win in the reverse fixture here at Anfield. If Ajax drop points to Midtjylland, then Liverpool will also be confirmed as group winners. However, all will not be lost if Atalanta lose here.
They lost their first three group games last season, but became the first side in Champions League history to still qualify for the knockout round after doing so with a remarkably low seven points. They still progressed further than their opponents Liverpool in that competition, bowing out in the quarter-finals to Paris Saint-Germain.
Liverpool Team News and Form
Despite missing many first-team players, Liverpool strolled to success over Leicester City on Sunday night, as they now only trail Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference at the top of the Premier League. Their infamous defeat to Aston Villa remains their only loss in the league this season, as the absence of Virgil van Dijk in defence has seen them improve their defensive record. Three wins from three in their Champions League group means they are assured of a spot in the next round in February.
Eight first-team players look to be unavailable to Klopp for the visit of Atalanta. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita are all definitely out, while Thiago Alcantara is doubtful. They have declared Mohamed Salah fit to play after recovering from COVID-19 this week.
Atalanta Team News and Form
After a blistering start, which saw Atalanta score 13 goals in their first three games, heavy defeats to Napoli and Sampdoria derailed their title push early on. Since a 5-2 win over Cagliari in their third match of the season, they have won just twice in their last eight games, against the whipping boys of both Serie A and the Champions League, Crotone and Midtjylland, two teams without a win in the respective competitions. Having become accustomed to seeing a free-flowing Atalanta, La Dea have scored just once in their last three games, a stark contrast to their goal-laden start to the season.
Marten de Roon, Robin Gosens and Bosko Sutalo all returned from injury against Spezia at the weekend after the trio missed the reverse clash in Bergamo, but Mattia Caldara remains sidelined. Pierluigi Gollini made his first appearance of the season in the draw on Saturday, replacing Marco Sportiello, who had a night to forget against Liverpool last time out. Fabio Depaoli went off injured in the first half on Saturday while Ruslan Malinovsky came back from the international break with Covid and both will miss out.
Liverpool Last 5 Matches
- Leicester (H) 3-0 Premier League win
- Man City (A) 1-1 Premier League draw
- Atalanta (A) 0-5 Champions League win
- West Ham (H) 2-1 Premier League win
- Midtjylland (H) 2-0 Champions League win
Atalanta Last 5 Matches
- Spezia (A) 0-0 Serie A draw
- Inter Milan (H) 1-1 Serie A draw
- Liverpool (H) 0-5 Champions League loss
- Crotone (A) 1-2 Serie A win
- Ajax (H) 2-2 Champions League draw
|3rd November 2020||ATA 0-5 LIV||Champions League|
Liverpool Top Scorers
Mohamed Salah (10 goals in all competitions) – After testing positive in Egypt, Salah will return here after a Covid absence which ruled him out of the weekend’s encounter with Leicester. It has been more of the same from Liverpool’s number 11. He has already reached double-figures for goals in just 12 games this season.
Diogo Jota (8 goals in all competitions) – At the start of the season, many would have thought Liverpool’s front three were indispensable and untouchable, but the Portuguese forward has thrown a spanner in the works and has been staking his claim for a starting spot in the Reds lineup. Another goal at the weekend took his tally to eight, three of which came in the reverse fixture at the start of the month.
Atalanta Top Scorers
Duvan Zapata (5 goals in all competitions) – After netting a brace against Ajax on matchday two, the Colombian striker has not scored since, with both his club and country out of form, but Zapata has scored 48 goals in just over two years in Bergamo.
Luis Muriel + Alejandro Gomez (5 goals in all competitions) – Atalanta’s extraordinary scoring feats over the past few years have been down to their ability of spreading the goals all around the squad. Their 24 goals have been shared between ten players, and Muriel and Gomez have been usual suspects since Gian Piero Gasperini has been in charge.
- Liverpool have a poor record against Italian clubs, winning just 12 of their 32 meetings.
- Atalanta travelled to Merseyside three years ago, beating Everton 5-1 in the Europa League.
- This is Liverpool’s 25th season in the top tier of UEFA competition, while it is Atalanta’s second.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
Liverpool have scored over 1.5 goals in 11 of their 14 games this season, and the return of Mohamed Salah will only bolster their attacking threat. Atalanta are not renowned for any sort of defensive solidity, and they have kept just two clean sheets this season, as well as conceding five in the reverse fixture.
After signing from Wolves over the summer, Jota has scored in all of his home appearances in the league and in Europe. His only goals away from home all came against Atalanta when he bagged a hat trick. Only Mohamed Salah has scored more goals for Liverpool than the Portuguese man this season.
Atalanta’s form in front of goal has dropped off in recent games, scoring just once in their last three, while Liverpool’s defensive form has improved. Since Virgil van Dijk was ruled out injured, Liverpool have conceded just three goals in seven games, keeping four clean sheets. The Premier League champions have also kept clean sheets in all of their European encounters so far.
*Odds as of time of writing (Tuesday 24th November 2020) and subject to change
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