Gian Piero Gasperini expecting Liverpool fightback as Atalanta attempt Europa League history

Gian Piero Gasperini expecting Liverpool fightback as Atalanta attempt Europa League history

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini called his team’s Europa League clash against Liverpool “one of the most important games in our history.”

His side have a huge edge in the quarter-finals after comfortably beating Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg at Anfield, and are favourites to make their first ever Europa League semi-final. No team has ever overturned a three goal deficit away from home in the Europa League.

Speaking ahead of the second leg in Bergamo, Gasperini warned against complacency despite his team’s convincing win last week.

“I expect the best Liverpool possible, with a team that will come here to play all its chances, we will have to play a great game to get a result,” Gasperini said.

Atalanta certainly played a great game in the first leg. They recorded the highest xG (2.58) by a visiting team at Anfield since Manchester City in February 2021, despite only having 30% of the possession.

Gasperini is keen to ensure the first leg performance doesn’t distract his players.

"Tomorrow we start from 0-0, our ability will have to be not thinking about the result of the first leg, that has to be our goal,” Gasperini said.

If all goes to plan tomorrow night, Atalanta will make history. They have not made the semi-finals of a continental competition since 1988. They also have not won a major trophy since winning the Coppa Italia in 1963. Gasperini does not want the extra significance of the match to overwhelm his players.

“We know that it will be one of the most important games in our history, if not the most important, but these are things that are said on the eve of the game, then comes the moment when we will have to know how to isolate ourselves,” Gasperini said.

Atalanta captain Marten de Roon recognises the importance of the match to fans, and wants to win for them.

“I saw the happiness of the fans after the victory,” De Roon said. “I think this could be a small dream for all of Bergamo, now it's up to us to make everything even more special by moving on to the next round.”