Atalanta 0-1 Liverpool

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Liverpool’s hopes of ending Jurgen Klopp’s reign with a European trophy are over after they failed to overturn a first-leg deficit against Atalanta.

The Reds travelled to Italy on the back of a 3-0 defeat at Anfield last Thursday and, despite controlling the game for the large periods, could not find the required goals and lost 3-1 on aggregate.

Mohamed Salah’s seventh-minute penalty, after a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross was handled, gave them hope.

As the first half drew to a close, the Egypt forward lofted well wide when put through one-on-one, but Klopp’s side struggled to create meaningful openings in the second period.

It marks the end of a difficult 12 days for the Reds, who drew at Manchester United and lost at home to Crystal Palace to surrender their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Attention will now turn back to the title race with Liverpool sitting third behind second-placed Arsenal and two points off leaders Manchester City.

The league now represents their final chance to give Klopp a fairytale ending to his eight and a half years on Merseyside and add to their success in the Carabao Cup in February.

Liverpool lack creativity as season threatens to peter out

Ultimately, Liverpool lost this game in the first leg at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp said they would need to play the “complete game” in Italy to progress, and while they had more than 70% possession, this was Liverpool far from their best.

They lacked an incisiveness going forward and with the pace of Darwin Nunez starting on the bench, they failed to get in behind the Atalanta defence and stretch the game.

Klopp used his bench, calling for Nunez, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott with 25 minutes remaining, but it made little difference with the Reds only having two shots in the second half.

Their expected goals was a meagre 0.11 in the second period, demonstrating the lack of quality they showed in the final third.

Atalanta sit sixth in Serie A, 32 points behind leaders Inter Milan, but they were superb in this tie, defending valiantly and attacking with creativity, and deservedly set up a semi-final against Marseille, who beat Benfica on penalties.

Klopp has managed Liverpool in four European finals during his tenure, but there will not be a fifth.

Their season is in danger of petering out. Three away games in the Premier League in the next nine days could well define how their campaign pans out from here.

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