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Champions League: Liverpool vs Atalanta; “Different lineups but we cannot change that”

Another European cup game awaits for Liverpool at Anfield as they look to qualify for the knockout stage with two games to go. 

They will be playing Italian side Atalanta yet again and will be favourites after their 5-0 battering of them in Italy, however both teams know each other much better now so Atalanta will be more conservative this time round.

We’ve seen it in past Champions League group stages under Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool faced Maribor in 2017 away from home and were ruthless beating them 7-0 but then in the next fixture at Anfield they only beat them 3-0 and Atalanta are a better overall side, so it’ll be a bigger challenge.

But Leicester City was meant to be a challenge as well and Klopp’s men made light work of that with a big injury list.

A certain Mo Salah missed that game but has since tested negative for coronavirus and has also trained so the Egyptian will certainly be in contention to start the game.

Jurgen Klopp gave a powerful response to Sky Sports after the Leicester game about the schedule as Naby Keita had to be taken off due to another injury, the German insisted that BT sport and Sky sport need to talk about scheduling as otherwise the season will not be completed, Geoff Shreeves attempted to state it’s not just TV contracts that are to blame.

Sky sports did not air Klopp’s powerful response, which was not a surprise.

It may be the reason why Klopp was so open in his press conference about making changes.

He said: “There are so many games to play and we will try to be as spot on as we can in specific games. Different lineups but we cannot change that. 

“It’s not all worked on the pitch because the schedule doesn’t give us that time.”

So, a different lineup, but how different?

With Liverpool having to play Brighton on the Saturday early kick-off, which is ludicrous, one would assume it could be a very different lineup although the opportunity for Klopp to get through on Wednesday night and then rest players in the next two games is there so it’s impossible to predict.

One player Klopp praised significantly in his press conference was Takumi Minamino.

Klopp said: “Minamino has trained well, really good. It’s just a strong team and offensively thank god, we haven’t had the same type of problems.

“No dip in form for him. Just a challenge. He is working hard.”

So, it may be an indication that Minamino will get a chance and he will need to take it with Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri taking theirs really well in recent games. 

Centre back Rhys Williams could start as Nat Phillips is not registered for the Champions League and if Klopp decides that Milner is to not start right back again, even after an unreal performance on Sunday, Neco Williams will likely start meaning it’ll be an inexperienced defence for The Reds.

No one really deserves to be dropped after the Leicester City win as everyone was fantastic, no one had a bad game but with the Premier League looking as tight as ever at the top Brighton will take priority.

Roberto Firmino looked back to his best on Sunday and with fans suggesting he looked like he had burnt when he wasn’t playing too well out last thing anyone would want would be for the number nine to be overplayed.

It was a massive goal for the Brazilian who looked like he was lacking total confidence. 

In his press conference Klopp explained why saying: “We always celebrate goals but this one was really emotional. The players read the newspapers and they saw some criticism.”

Fans can hope the Bobby they know, and love is back but whether he starts on Wednesday is another thing with it looking unlikely as the Brazilian was not pictured in training alongside Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara. 

Atalanta drew 0-0 on the weekend but their attack is always a threat and every player in the world always wants to perform at their best at Anfield, but the players know that and as Joel Matip said in the press conference “they are a threat for any team in Europe” but so are Liverpool.

So, let the fun begin.

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: LFC Foundation and Right To Play are working Side by Side to transform the lives of children at home and away

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