Atalanta v Liverpool player ratings: Zappacosta 8, Scamacca 6; Van Dijk 8, Salah 6

Italian side lose 1-0 on night but win 3-1 on aggregate to seal Europa League semi-final spot

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Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta with the Italian side reaching the semi-finals 3-1 on aggregate on Thursday.

Atalanta are in the last four of a European competition for the first time since 1988, despite Mohamed Salah's early penalty giving Liverpool a 1-0 second-leg win, thanks to their three-goal lead established in the quarter-final first leg at Anfield last week.

In what is becoming a sobering climax to the season, Liverpool have won just three of their last nine games in all competitions and again looked tired after already having played 52 games this campaign.

Jurgen Klopp may well only have the League Cup to show for his final season on Merseyside as the German's team have been eliminated from the FA Cup and Europa League and trail Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

“It was clear we gave ourselves a massive hurdle,” said the German. “It was really tricky and we were too hasty in moments. I liked the game a lot tonight, with the desire and power the boys showed. It was incredible from them.

“We won the game and that was the reaction we wanted to show. It was difficult and we knew it would be but Atalanta deserve to go through, 100 per cent.

“It is mixed emotions. We are out but I am happy with the game. We would have wished that we could have gone to [the final in] Dublin, but that hasn't happened.”

Gian Piero Gasperini called Thursday's match probably the most important Atalanta had ever played and his players were hailed as heroes at the final whistle by a pulsating crowd at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo.

“Credit to Atalanta,” added Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk. “The damage was done last week, when we were very poor and they had the perfect game.

“They deserve to go through and we made it far too difficult for ourselves. It was a great game and we won, but it doesn't really feel like it. We are out.

“At times, maybe we wanted it too quickly. Everyone was keen to get the second and, eventually, third goals. In the first half, we were on them and created chances.

“A second goal could have changed a lot. We're disappointed because we really wanted to win the competition. There were so many positive things today, but it's a bad feeling to be out.”

Updated: April 19, 2024, 3:19 AM