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Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can evoke spirit of Barcelona comeback at Atalanta

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Apr 2024

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will evoke the spirit of their Barcelona comeback when he sends his team out to keep their Europa League hopes alive against Atalanta in Bergamo.

The Reds have a 3-0 deficit to overturn from the first leg if they are to make the semi-finals, a scenario which has echoes of their famous comeback to beat the Catalan side in a Champions League semi-final in May 2019 on their way to winning a sixth European Cup.

After that victory his players remarked about the stirring speech he gave in the dressing room before kick-off and Klopp said, although he does not yet have anything planned, he can use that brilliant night at Anfield as a reference point even though they will not have the backing of a home crowd.

“I usually don’t prepare these things like that, especially not the day before or four years before whatever,” he said.

“I remember I said, ‘If we fail, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way’. And that’s exactly how I see it again.

“After the game (last week) everyone in the stadium thought ‘that’s it’. Now it’s a week later I don’t think everyone thinks it is already decided

“We want to win the game. If we want to win, we better play good. If we play good, we have a chance to win it. Then we will see.”

That Barcelona victory is the only time in Liverpool’s long European history they have overturned a three-goal first leg deficit.

However, they have never made such a comeback playing the second leg away from home and in the four first leg European ties they have lost at Anfield they have never progressed to the next round.

Liverpool hammered Atalanta 5-0 at home in a behind-closed-doors Champions League group game during lockdown in November 2020 – having lost the home leg 2-0 – and Klopp hopes they can capitalise on any indecision the hosts may have about how to approach their seemingly comfortable lead.

“Tomorrow is more difficult because they don’t have to score at all,” he added.

“We will see who deals better with the situation. If Atalanta go through then they will deserve it. If not, then something special will have happened.

“We have to do better. It’s really not simple because usually you fight for everything but when you are 3-0 up it is not easy for them.”

Despite their significant advantage, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini is not underestimating the occasion as they seek to book only the second European semi-final spot in the club’s history.

“We know that it will be one of the most important games in our history, if not the most important,” he told a press conference.

“Even though we won the first leg, tomorrow we start again at 0-0. Our focus will have to be not to think about the result of the first leg.”

Captain Marten De Roon added: “I don’t think only in Bergamo but I believe that all of Italy will be behind us tomorrow.”

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