Jurgen Klopp warns Liverpool to be wary of 'super dangerous' Atalanta in Europa League

Manager not sure whether key players Alexander-Arnold, Jota and Alisson will be available for Thursday's quarter-final

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp asked his side to be ready for a "super-disciplined" Atalanta when they meet in the Europa League quarter-final at Anfield on Thursday.

Atalanta knocked out Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the previous round but have won just two of their last nine matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, Klopp expects Atalanta, managed by long-serving boss Gian Piero Gasperini, to pose Liverpool a big challenge.

"There are now only great teams left in the competition," Klopp said on Wednesday.

"It's really outstanding and we know what Atalanta are all about. Gasperini is doing an incredible job there for years and years and it's difficult to play against Italian teams, always was.

"Tactically they're super disciplined and super dangerous in a lot of areas, so we have to be at our best to get into the next round over these two legs."

Meanwhile, Klopp is uncertain whether four key players who returned to training will feature against Atalanta.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Alisson and Stefan Bajcetic are all close to full fitness with Liverpool also in the Premier League title race.

"Obviously, we didn't rush it with them," Klopp said. "Trent and Jota have been training together a lot for a couple of weeks. They did a lot of training but they were doing very well yesterday.

"We will see how they go but they are back in training and we have to see how we use them. Yes, we need them back but we need them in the best possible shape and we need them in rhythm."

Liverpool have already won the League Cup this season. They are now level with Arsenal on 71 points at the top of the Premier League table, trailing on goal difference. They squandered a chance to claim top spot outright with a 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Sunday.

"Very disappointed after the game but it was quickly forgotten about," midfielder Harvey Elliott said. "The good thing about football is we've got another game to focus on."

Liverpool players will be looking to win the Europa League for Klopp, who is in his last season with the club. The final, taking place in Dublin on May 22, could potentially be Klopp's last game in charge should they get there.

"With the gaffer leaving at the end of the season, winning it would be the best possible way for that to end," Elliott said. "We as players will be doing everything we can for that to happen and we want to give everything back to him.

"He's been so influential in all our careers."

Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Elliott insisted he was ready to step up into a regular starting role.

"I want to be the player walking out, rather than coming on," said the 21-year-old.

"That doesn't mean I'm not grateful for coming on the pitch, I'm very grateful for every opportunity that I get in a Liverpool shirt, but for me it's about kicking on for myself and cementing my spot in the team.

"I'm not a kid anymore, I'm a man, I'm growing up quickly, I feel like I need to take responsibilities into my own hands. If that means knocking on the gaffer's door, it's going to have to happen. But, at the same time, I do need to wait for my opportunities, I do need to be patient."

Updated: April 10, 2024, 4:58 PM