Gian Piero Gasperini is hoping to mark his 200th appearance on the Atalanta bench on Wednesday with a vastly improved display against Liverpool.
The Serie A side were hammered 5-0 in the Champions League in Bergamo earlier this month. And Gasperini is confident his side “won’t give Liverpool as many gifts” at Anfield.
“It’s going to be a very difficult match, as we are up against a top level team doing extraordinary things,” Gasperini said in his press conference.
“At this moment, it’s already a huge achievement for us to be in the Champions League, but we see this as an opportunity and want to put in a good performance. We’ve got what it takes to do that.”
Liverpool will have Mo Salah available again after he missed the weekend’s win over Leicester.
Salah flew back from Egypt, where he had returned two positive Covid-19 tests, on Friday and was ruled out of Sunday’s win over Leicester but has subsequently tested negative and is back in contention.
“Mo trained yesterday and looked really good. All the tests were negative so he’s available if nothing changes,” said Klopp, who hinted the forward made a misjudgement while away on international duty.
Doubts remain over Jordan Henderson (thigh), Thiago Alcantara (knee) and Xherdan Shaqiri (muscle). And Klopp was also unwilling to divulge any more about his team because he said he did not know too much about the Italians’ line-up.
The heavy loss Atalanta suffered on home soil means Gasperini will look for changes from his side. as Liverpool look to secure their passage through to the next phase.
“Clearly, we need to do everything better than we did in the Bergamo match, and not make the same errors that led to such a heavy defeat,” said Gasperini.
“We know their quality, but we also feel confident we won’t give them as many gifts as we did in the first match.
“We’ve got to be balanced and not just think about attack and defence, but the totality of the team. We must avoid leaving huge gaps that Liverpool clearly are good at taking advantage of.
“We also undoubtedly need to work on our dead ball situations, because they do make a difference. The squad has changed since last season, but over the last two years we’ve still been able to qualify for the Champions League.
“The level of competition is different to the Europa League, but we earned this opportunity on the field and we never stop learning.”
Speaking about his 200th game, the Italian added: “Fortunately, there have been very few bitter moments during these years, it has been a constant crescendo. I hope the future holds even higher peaks.
“It’s not easy to repeat your success, especially a club that doesn’t have the resources of other Champions League clubs. We can’t afford a mistake and it’s not easy, but it is very exciting.”
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