Gasperini: ‘Atalanta expect the best Liverpool possible’

Gian Piero Gasperini suggested Liverpool’s visit to Bergamo was ‘one of the most important matches’ in Atalanta’s history ahead of their decisive Europa League quarter-final clash.

La Dea shined in their trip to Anfield in the first leg of the European tie, flying to a 3-0 win after goals from Gianluca Scamacca and Mario Pasalic, leaving the home crowd stunned in silence. Now, Gasperini’s side will have to finish the job in a tense return clash at the Gewiss Stadium.

Liverpool are in a tough spot heading into the final few weeks of the season, still in the thick of the Premier League title race with Manchester City and Arsenal but looking out of sorts as Jurgen Klopp prepares to call it quits in the summer.

Gasperini prepares for Liverpool

Speaking in a press conference via TMW, Gasperini first discussed the tough task ahead of his Atalanta.

“We know the difficulty, for us they’ll always be that team, even though we won the first leg, tomorrow we start again at 0-0, our focus will have to be not to think about the result of the first leg, it will have to be our goal.”

Gasperini spoke about his expectations of Liverpool.

“They have their own identity, a very precise one. I expect the best Liverpool possible, with a team that will come here to play for all their chances, we will have to play a great match to get a result. We are happy to play a match of good quality in front of our fans.

“This value, finally with the stadium taking shape. We know that it will be one of the most important matches in history, if not the most important, but these are things that are said on the eve of the match, then the moment comes when we will have to know how to isolate ourselves.

“We must, knowing that the result is what counts. We want to progress, it’s certainly unacceptable to lose due to spirit and mentality, we must go onto the pitch with this concentration, thinking that Liverpool are a beatable team.”

The Atalanta coach was asked if the initial approach was key, considering that Liverpool have conceded first 14 times this season.

“I’m not sure how many times they’ve overturned it though! There are moments in matches that can give more or less favourable turns, the strength of the team is to go further. Then the moments are imponderable, but the strength of a team is to play beyond the incident.”

Gasperini commented on the transfer noise surrounding Teun Koopmeiners.

“He is playing with Atalanta and is also playing very well. Atalanta are in three competitions, we hope to be in everything in the next month too.

“It is clear that in this period of the season, there may be clubs less involved in the cups and therefore these rumours are fuelled because other teams have little to do and maybe they wonder if it’s right that Atalanta are in the cup quarter-finals, so these things come out.”

Finally, Gasperini discussed who could be decisive in the Europa League clash.

“It will be fundamental for all the players who take to the pitch to be decisive, clearly each in their own role. We’re in an excellent moment, but the result can change the judgement.

“A week ago, it was clear that we were certainly not favourites, now after this result we have a chance, but I want to underline that we are leaving nothing between the league and the cups.

“We have great enthusiasm, great spirit and also quality given that we manage to score goals, all of this leads us to face this last month with this spirit.”

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