After the highs of Sunday – when a heavily-rotated Liverpool steamrollered a well-respected Leicester side – Wednesday night saw further rotation prove costly, as Liverpool succumbed to their worst home defeat of the Jürgen Klopp era.
All things considered, if Liverpool were due an off-day, this was a good time to have it.
The Reds remain top of Group D in this year’s Champions League, but have now burdened themselves with further meaningful fixtures to contest before qualification to the knockout stages can be confirmed.
Even a win at home to Ajax in matchweek five would not be enough to seal first-place, assuming Atalanta beat the currently pointless Midtjylland.
And it must be said, Atalanta outplayed this much-changed Liverpool tonight.
The visitors edged a very dull first half, in which Liverpool hadn’t registered a shot during the opening half an hour.
And while the Italian side could hardly boast a wealth of chances, their opening goal- courtesy of Josip Iličić- was much deserved on the balance of play.
Liverpool immediately made a number of changes, and Atalanta imediately doubled their lead. A very similar goal to their first.
Nothing positive to report, other than the fact that the low intensity of this performance seems to have afforded Klopp’s side any further injuries.
Your ratings, after a woeful European showing:
Ali 7 – strong near-post save midway through the first half kept things goalless until the break.
Neco 5 – looked lacking in confidence, sharpness and maturity, to be quite blunt. Lost ball too easily and too often, pressed erratically and failed to prevent cross coming in for Iličić’s opener.
Matip 6 – hardly a vintage performance as the leader of a much-changed backline.
Rhys 5.5 – had seemed to be performing at a far more composed and mature level than the other Williams, but a criminal lapse in concentration left Gosens to wander free for the visitors’ second.
Tsimikas 6 – my initial reaction to seeing that Robertson would be replacing the Greek was that Kostas was unlucky to be brought off. He had been one of the better Liverpool performances. He switched off, however, for Atalanta’s opener, seconds before Robertson was on to replace him.
Jones 6 – involved in most of Liverpool’s better moments, but those were infrequent, and Jones drifted out of proceedings too often.
Gini 6 – was just beginning to make more of an impact on the game when taken off. Did not seem to regain possession as much as you would want in that holding role first half, though.
Milner 6 – far less on-ball quality than we saw from right-back on Sunday.
Salah 6 – looked half-fit, in all honesty.
Origi 5 – a horribly lifeless display from the Belgian.
Mané 5.5 – possibly the worst Sadio Mané performance I can remember.
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Firmino 6.5 – offered slightly better link-up, but still lost possession a couple of times too many.
Fab 6.5 – seemed to win the Reds’ first tackle in midfield.
Jota 6.5 – brought slightly greater tempo, even if the Portuguese was unable to continue his scoring run.
Robbo 6.5 – ditto.
Minamino N/A – hardly had a touch.