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Atalanta vs. Liverpool: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

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        • (7') Mohamed Salah (PG)
        • (43') I. Hien
        • (77') T. Koopmeiners
        • (91') D. Zappacosta
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              Atalanta vs. Liverpool: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

              As the second legs of the Europa League quarter-finals approach, the anticipation builds, particularly for the high-stakes rematch between Atalanta and Liverpool. After a surprising and dynamic first leg at Anfield, where Atalanta emerged victorious with a decisive 3-0 win, the stage is set for a thrilling second leg.

              Date: 18/04/2024

              Kick-off time: 20:00

              Location: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia

              Atalanta, currently positioned 6th in Serie A with 50 points, have shown a robust form domestically, although they find themselves 9 points adrift of the top four, with Bologna holding the coveted position. Despite having two games in hand, the gap presents a significant challenge. This situation has sharpened the team's focus on the Europa League, a competition they now regard as their best chance for silverware this season.

              The club’s journey in recent years under the stewardship of Gian Piero Gasperini has been remarkable. Gasperini, at the helm for eight years, has transformed Atalanta into a formidable force in Italian and European football. Despite their domestic and continental exploits during his tenure, Atalanta have yet to secure a major trophy under his guidance. The only major trophy in the club's history remains the Coppa Italia won in 1963. Thus, success in the Europa League would not just add a significant chapter to the club’s history books—it would be a monumental achievement.

              The first leg against Liverpool showcased Atalanta's tactical maturity and clinical execution. Gianluca Scamacca's brace and Mario Pašalić's goal were products of well-orchestrated plays that left the English side reeling. This performance wasn’t a fluke but a testament to Atalanta’s growth and their ability to excel on big occasions.

              On the other side, Liverpool, currently third in the Premier League with 71 points, have experienced a season of fluctuating fortunes. The Reds were contenders for an unprecedented quadruple just weeks ago, but recent performances have tempered those aspirations dramatically. The loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-final was a significant blow, but the defeat to Atalanta at home was even more damaging, casting doubt on their consistency and mental fortitude.

              Liverpool are familiar with dramatic European nights, reminiscent of their stunning comeback against Barcelona in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals. However, this season's squad has shown signs of vulnerability that makes a repeat of such heroics seem less likely. Their challenge is now monumental: overturn a three-goal deficit away from home against a team that have already bested them convincingly.

              Jürgen Klopp, set to depart at the end of the season, faces perhaps one of his most challenging tests. His tenure has been marked by inspiring highs, and he undoubtedly seeks to conclude on a positive note. However, recent performances suggest a disconnect or a dip in the dynamic intensity that has characterised Klopp’s best Liverpool sides.

              Atalanta's approach to the second leg will likely be cautious but not passive. Gasperini knows the danger of sitting too deep against a team like Liverpool, who can capitalise on any lapse in concentration. Therefore, maintaining a balance between defensive solidity and opportunistic attacks will be crucial.

              Liverpool, needing at least three goals to level the aggregate score, will have to adopt an aggressive strategy from the start. This approach, however, could leave them vulnerable at the back, especially against an Atalanta side that have already proven they can exploit spaces effectively. The key for Liverpool will be the performance of their forwards; if they can convert their chances early, it might shift the momentum significantly.

              As Thursday's game approaches, both teams understand the stakes. For Atalanta, it is about securing a historic triumph and advancing in a competition they now see as within their grasp. For Liverpool, it is about redemption, resilience, and perhaps, a miraculous comeback that would add another storied chapter to their rich European history. The match promises not just to be a clash of two football teams but a battle of wills, tactics, and heart.

              Liverpool To Win

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              Liverpool To Win @ 8/13
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              Both Teams To Score

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              Draw / Liverpool @ 4/1
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              Team News

              Atalanta Team News:

              Giorgio Scalvini will once again miss out for the home side as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, but former Arsenal defender Sead Kolašinac could return to the starting lineup for this one following a bout with injury.

              Other than Scalvini, Gasperini is working with a clean bill of health and should largely stick with the same XI that started at Anfield last week.

              Liverpool Team News:

              Liverpool are still missing goalkeeper Alisson but the Reds now have most of their major stars back from injury. Trent Alexander-Arnold could be awarded a start here as Klopp seeks to inspire some attacking impetus, while Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Dominik Szoboszlai will likely all fight to start alongside Wataru Endō and Alexis Mac Allister in the midfield.

              Luis Díaz, Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah should make up the front three, with Klopp likely showing faith to the centre-back pairing of Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil van Dijk.

              Form Guide

              Atalanta's form has been solid as the Italian side come into this one having won three and lost two of their last five games. Atalanta actually entered the Liverpool game off the back of consecutive losses, 2-1 away at Cagliari and 1-0 away at Fiorentina, but prior to that Gasperini's side did notch two wins on the bounce.

              Atalanta ran out convincing 3-0 winners away at Napoli, courtesy of goals from Aleksei Miranchuk, Gianluca Scamacca and Teun Koopmeiners, which was preceded by a 2-1 win over Sporting CP, thanks to goals from Scamacca and Ademola Lookman.

              Italian striker Scamacca is in fine form, as he enters this game with five goals in his last five games.

              Liverpool's form has been very mixed of late as the Reds enter this game having won two, drawn one and lost two of their last five games. Prior to last week's defeat at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp's side drew 2-2 with Manchester United in a chaotic and regrettable game that saw Liverpool gift the home side an equaliser while leading 1-0, which resulted in them completely conceding control of a game in which they were comfortable. Ultimately, goals from Luis Díaz and Mohamed Salah were not enough for the three points.

              Prior to that, Liverpool beat Sheffield United 3-1 thanks to goals from Darwin Núñez, Alexis Mac Alliser and Cody Gakpo, a result that followed a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion, which came via goals from Luis Díaz and Mohamed Salah.

              In that period, Liverpool also lost 4-3 in extra-time to Manchester United at Old Trafford in a game that mirrored their most recent 2-2 draw with the Red Devils.

              Footy Accumulators Prediction

              Liverpool probably have too much to do to win the tie but we still fancy them to win the game. They have experience of navigating these ties so they'll give it a very good go, and particularly at the back end of the game the pressure will likely start to affect Atalanta. However, the Reds probably aren't good enough defensively this season to keep Atalanta out for 90 minutes and the Italians are savvy enough to curtail Liverpool's attacking threat. Atalanta 1-2 Liverpool.

              Don’t forget to check out the rest of our previews, tips and offers for this weekend’s action. Footy Accumulators is the #1 football betting site for the latest on betting in the UK - download the Betting Hub app for more!

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              Where To Watch

              This game will be aired live to all subscribed U.K. viewers on TNT Sports 1.