Liverpool and Atalanta, the two top teams from this season’s UEFA Europa League (UEL) group stages, will face off in an exciting quarterfinal match. The Merseysiders won Group E (W4, L2) and then defeated Sparta Prague 11-2 in the Round of 16, recording their largest European aggregate victory in over forty years. Meanwhile, Atalanta was spotless in Group D (W4, D2) and maintained that record with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Sporting in the previous round.

After eight years since their last appearance in the UEFA Cup/UEL, Liverpool will be making their eighth appearance in the final eight of the competition. Anfield hopes to host another one of its renowned European nights here after a memorable 4-3 comeback was completed in that game thanks to a goal by Dejan Lovren in the 91st minute. That historic quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund in Jürgen Klopp’s first season immediately springs to mind.

Since the Reds have won 12 of their last 16 European home games (D2, L2), they have a chance to take the lead this time around as the first-leg is held on Merseyside. Ironically, that run began following a 2-0 loss to Atalanta in their 2020–21 UEFA Champions League group match, with Liverpool triumphing 5-0 at the Gewiss Stadium and Atalanta repaying the favor with a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

The fact that Atlanta has only ever lost three of their 28 games in the competition (W16, D9), however, speaks volumes about how different of a force they are in the UEL. Gian Piero Gasperini, the team’s long-term manager, has overseen all of those accomplishments. To date, his team has only lost two of their last 17 away games in Europe (W8, D7).

Players to watch: With five of his past seven goals coming at home after scoring in both legs versus Sparta, Liverpool will be hoping Dominik Szoboszlai can be a factor once more in this tie. As a result, he scored five of his final six goals before halftime. Gianluca Scamacca scored in both of Atalanta’s Round of 16 matches.

Hot stat: Out of Liverpool’s 17 home matches against Italian teams, only one resulted in a draw (W10, L6).

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