Virgil van Dijk slams 'sloppy' mistakes after Liverpool are crushed at Anfield by Atalanta in the Europa League… but Reds captain insists they can turnaround 3-0 deficit in Italy
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Virgil van Dijk slams 'sloppy' mistakes after Liverpool are crushed at Anfield by Atalanta in the Europa League… but Reds captain insists they can turnaround 3-0 deficit in Italy

Apr 21, 2024
  • Atalanta stunned Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final
  • Former West Ham forward Gianluca Scamacca scored in each half for visitors 
  • IAN LADYMAN and CHRIS SUTTON have their say on the Premier League’s Player of the Year – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Captain Virgil van Dijk admitted Liverpool were punished for ‘sloppy’ mistakes after the shock 3-0 home defeat by Atalanta in the Europa League.

This competition offers the chance to bring the curtain down on Jurgen Klopp‘s reign with a European trophy on May 22, but their hopes of making the Dublin showpiece are in jeopardy.

Liverpool lacked creativity and coherence in the first leg of a quarter-final that Atalanta are in complete control of heading back to Bergamo thanks to Gianluca Scamacca’s brace and a late Mario Pasalic goal.

Van Dijk told TNT Sports: ‘A very, very disappointing evening. Too many individual mistakes and we got punished for it. It feels bad. 

‘With the man-marking system they do, we have to do much better. When we have the ball we have to do better and be much stronger. The spaces were open and they punished us immediately. 

Captain Virgil van Dijk admitted Liverpool were punished by Atalanta for 'sloppy' mistakes

Captain Virgil van Dijk admitted Liverpool were punished by Atalanta for ‘sloppy’ mistakes

‘A very disappointing night for all of us but we can’t dwell on it for too long. We need everyone to look forward to another big game. We have to switch back onto getting results. 

‘We were wide open. It’s more that we conceded the goals because we lost the ball in difficult areas. It hurts. But it can’t put us down. We have to react pretty quickly.’

It represented the Reds’ first Anfield loss since falling to Real Madrid last February and compounded the Premier League hopefuls’ potentially costly 2-2 draw at bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday. 

Van Dijk added: ‘It hurts of course. We haven’t lost here for a long time. 

‘But we shouldn’t take the credit away from them. They punished us for being sloppy in possession.

‘We still had chances to score one or two and unfortunately we didn’t. 

‘If you don’t believe, there’s no point going to Italy. We have made it very hard for ourselves going there 3-0 down. 

Atalanta earned a shock 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of their quarter-final

Atalanta earned a shock 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of their quarter-final

Gianluca Scamacca gave Atalanta a first half lead with his effort going under Kelleher

Gianluca Scamacca gave Atalanta a first half lead with his effort going under Kelleher

Scamacca doubled his tally in the second half after the forward was picked out in space

Scamacca doubled his tally in the second half after the forward was picked out in space

‘But the way to bounce back is by winning the game on the weekend. 

‘We need everyone to switch it back on. Then we can focus on putting out at least four goals over there.’

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