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Identifying Atalanta’s Key Men Before Europa League Clash With Liverpool

Atalanta fans waving a flag in support of their team

Liverpool are looking to bounce back from a frustrating 2-2 draw to Manchester United when they take on Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League Quarterfinals on March 11.

Atalanta sit sixth in Serie A and are one of several teams in the hunt to qualify for Europe next season. They played in the Champions League for three straight seasons between 2019 and 2022 and beat Sporting CP in the round of 16 to earn a trip to Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp is looking to end his final season at Anfield by adding to the Carabao Cup he won in February and the Europa League presents the perfect chance to do just that. However, The Reds’ Serie A opponents will give Liverpool a real test and should not be taken lightly.

Atalanta’s Key Men Before Europa League Clash With Liverpool

The Key Atalanta Players That May Trouble Liverpool

Charles De Ketelaere

Charles De Ketelaere was one of Europe’s hottest properties when he signed for AC Milan in the summer of 2022 for £27.3 million. The attacking midfielder had impressed for Club Brugge during the 2021/22 season, scoring 14 goals and registering nine assists.

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However, the Belgian struggled to adapt to Serie A, starting just nine games and assisting a goal just once. De Ketelaere has flourished since moving to Atalanta and getting a real chance to adapt to Italian football. The 23-year-old has scored six goals and registered six assists in 20 starts for La Dea and will look to showcase his ability against Liverpool.

The attacking midfielder either starts upfront in a pair or behind two strikers. However, he has also lined up alongside fellow attacking midfielder Teun Koopmeiners and a striker in a front three. Manager Gian Piero Gasperini has many options to choose from as he looks to cause a shock at Anfield.

Teun Koopmeiners

Koopmeiners is Atalanta’s top scorer this season with 11 Serie A strikes. The Dutchman joined La Dea from AZ Alkmaar in 2021 in a £10.4 million deal, he has already beat his goal tallies from his first two years in Italy this season.

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The 26-year-old recently scored off the bench in a 3-0 win over champions Napoli, a game that showcased the side’s ability to compete with Liverpool in the Europa League. Like De Ketelaere, Koopmeiners is also an attacking midfielder and started their most recent game behind a strike partnership of Ademola Lookman and Gianluca Scamacca.

The former AZ Alkmaar star is also a Dutch international and has made 21 appearances for his county, netting twice. Koopmeiners’ positioning and high pressing are cited as some of his strengths so Liverpool will have to make sure they don’t make a mistake similar to the one that cost them their lead against Manchester United.

Ademola Lookman

Lookman has found a home for himself at Atalanta and developed into one of Italy’s most feared wingers. Liverpool fans will be familiar with the former England U21 international, he scored the winner in a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City and played for rivals Everton.

The 26-year-old arrived at Atalanta from RB Leipzig in a £7.7 million deal in the summer of 2022. He has shone for La Dea, scoring 21 goals and registering 10 assists in 37 Serie A starts. He has primarily played as a striker for manager Piero Gasperini this term but has also been prolific on the left wing, scoring four times in six appearances.

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Lookman’s main strengths are his dribbling and finishing when cutting in from the left. A return for Trent Alexander-Arnold against Atlanta could see him tasked with stopping the dangerous 26-year-old. A strong performance from the Nigerian international could see La Dea make a healthy profit on him this summer.

Giorgio Scalvini

Academy graduate Giorgio Scalvini’s third season in the Atalanta first team has been his best yet. The 20-year-old centre-back has become a first-team regular, starting 26 league games for La Dea during the 2023/24 campaign.

Scalvini’s strengths include his interceptions and dribbling out from the back. The Manchester Evening News reported that Manchester United were told they would have to pay £43 million for the defender in October. His experience at such a young age should be attracting some of Europe’s biggest clubs and Atalanta will likely struggle to hold onto the Italy international this summer.

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A hamstring injury picked up against Napoli means Scalvini will miss the first leg at Anfield. However, if the 20-year-old recovers and Atalanta keeps the score respectable in the first leg, he could be a useful tool in the return fixture. The defender has shown he can keep stars like Victor Oshimen quiet, he’ll hope his fitness doesn’t stop him challenging himself against Mo Salah.

Gianluca Scamacca

Scamacca has revived his career back in his home country this season after a difficult year at West Ham United. The Italian struggled in the Premier League, scoring just three goals in 16 appearances. The Hammers paid £30.7 million to sign him from Sassuolo but cut their losses just a year later when Atalanta paid only £21.6 million for the striker.

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The 25-year-old’s finishing from long shots is his most impressive attribute. Caoimhin Kelleher must be alert in Liverpool’s goal to avoid being shocked by the ambitious Scamacca. The Irish goalie was beaten by a quick shot from Kobbie Mainoo against Manchester United.

A good performance against The Reds will prove that the Italian international’s performances in the Premier League were a result of bad luck and not a lack of quality.


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