Saturday November 7 2020
All is not lost for Atalanta

La Dea may have been destroyed by one of Europe’s best, but Owen Diana thinks they still have plenty to shout about both at home and abroad.

It may not be easy after such an embarrassing defeat, but Atalanta must keep things in perspective. Although the 5-0 beatdown at the hands of Liverpool was historic for all the wrong reasons, La Dea can still recover in Europe. They can take heart from last season’s group stage campaign, which saw them rise from the dead to qualify for the Round of 16. This blowout will sting, but the Bergamo boys have the necessary mental fortitude to come back even stronger.

For the first half of their maiden Champions League experience, Atalanta seemed to be suffering from a bad case of stage fright. A favorable draw did not prevent them from losing their first three matches by a combined score of 11-2. The final encounter in that sequence was a 5-1 thrashing authored by another English powerhouse, then-Premier League champions Manchester City.

There are evident similarities between that game and Tuesday’s torrid evening. La Dea were overrun by a superior side, with their attacking instincts allowing their opponents far too much space to play in. The expectation was always that the Italians would struggle to contain a voracious visiting offence, but they would have certainly hoped to make life a little more difficult for their guests defensively.

An injury crisis at the back meant that 19-year old Rhys Williams received only his third Liverpool start, and the hosts surely had designs on testing the inexperienced academy graduate early and often. Colombian pair Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel were fielded together up top in an attempt to put the teen under as much pressure as possible, but Atalanta never got the requisite service into their dynamic duo. The former only flickered into life when the Reds were already home and hosed, while the lithe No 9 was largely peripheral outside of a couple of tame first half efforts.

It is unusual to see Gian Piero Gasperini’s men nullified so effectively, and a similar outcome is possible when they travel to Anfield in three weeks’ time. Yet, a heavy reverse there would still leave them with a rosier continental outlook than the one they were faced with 12 months ago. They should dispatch Midtjylland in Matchday 5, which would set up a decisive clash against Ajax. A win will likely be required in Amsterdam, but La Dea can summon the spirit of Kharkiv to secure another famous final day triumph.

Meanwhile, the panorama remains promising domestically. Despite suffering consecutive slip-ups against Napoli and Sampdoria, the Northerners sit only four points off the top of the table. Given the patchy form of heavy-hitters Juventus and Inter, the title is theirs for the taking if they can recapture the consistency that they displayed this past summer.

A serious Serie A challenge is plausible, and that reality should recalibrate Atalanta’s ambitions. The chase for continental glory must not be abandoned, especially given the succulent sums doled out to those who advance to the latter stages, but the Liverpool loss exposed the gulf in quality between the peninsula’s plucky upstarts and the European elite. As a result, both eyes should be firmly fixed on securing an unprecedented Scudetto.

Have your say...
Re-watch the game against Liverpool, Atalanta were unlucky. Late when Zapata came alive he had a goal disallowed and forced two or three good saves from Alisson, and then had a shot that hit the apex of post and crossbar and somehow stayed out.

The Reds scored 3 times on the back of cleared Atalanta attacks. It was a bad mauling but not as bad as you might think, reminded me of their first CL game where they had loads of chances but didn't score and everything Dinamo Zagreb did came up roses!
on the 10th November, 2020 at 9:39am
It was like a fighter who is a great puncher meeting someone who was a devastating puncher. There is levels to this. The one thing I will say, we saw it against PSG and we saw it again against LP - Atalanta gets scared. They play not to lose when they are playing a huge club. It's like they forgot they got so far throwing caution to the wind and having fun. Freeze up. The yips. On another note, the arrogance of Liverpool grows and grows. They need a smack by a big club...
on the 6th November, 2020 at 4:55pm
I think all is lost for Atalanta this season in the CL. They will get beaten again by ‘pool and then it will go down to the last game in Amsterdam - where they won’t get the result they need.
As for Inter - another group stage exit is imminent. Whilst the last two seasons have been close run this season it will be an emphatic exit - probably bottom of the group.
on the 6th November, 2020 at 12:15pm
Atalanta's performance was almost as bad as ours against Lille!! Shows that italian football isn't as strong as it once was. We know we are not one of the top teams in italy but we should still be beating Lille. Tonali will not be redeemed end of season, waste of money and overhyped like most italians these days (Barella probably the only exception!!).
on the 6th November, 2020 at 1:22am

Are you on something?

How does it "bode better" when Inter and AC are there?

Milan have played 16 CL knockout games since 2008. How many have they won?

Inter are on course for a THIRD straight CL group stage elimination. Milan can't even compete in the EL

Juve had their chance for win after reaching 2 finals, but their squad has weakened quite a bit since then

Napoli, Roma, Lazio will be found out like they always are

Atalanta, if anything, have done better than the rest
on the 6th November, 2020 at 12:30am
I hope Juve (or Inter) meet Liverpool in knockout stages so we can test your theory. ;)

It's still a mystery how come Barca, last week against Juventus, didn't win 5-0..!
--They left Juve off the hook so you can boast here.

@Anonymous, you should create a nick, man. You aren't saying anything shameful/ disrespectful.
If anyone should hide in anonymity are these two spoiled brats bellow.
on the 6th November, 2020 at 12:24am
It's not as though Juve and Inter have been doing a whole lot better this season. Sure, Atalanta has plenty to improve after Tuesday, but saying they belong in mid-table is utterly disgraceful and demonstrates exactly the oligopolies that are slowly ruining football as a whole. Already, I can see 5+ teams competing for 4 CL spots and perhaps the title; competition like this keeps things interesting. I'd say Atalanta can definitely be a competitive side in the league and in the Coppa Italia.
on the 5th November, 2020 at 10:57pm
Second rate and frankly embarrassing comments from Juve Fan and CG. I am not a fan of Atalanta but I admire their recent achievements and the football they play, which is extraordinary considering the budget they have. If anybody is an embarrassment for the league, it is heavyweights Juve, who despite being champions 10 years in a row cannot win the CL which is an obvious target, and Inter, who despite spending lavishly for years now cannon even make it out of the group. Tone down your arrogance
on the 5th November, 2020 at 9:05pm
I hope they don't win the leg after that drubbing, embarrassing for Italian football no one remembers Samp or Napoli but all of Europe will remember the Liverpool defeat that in turn makes our league look weak. Champions league always bodes better when both Inter and AC are in there a long with Juve with a final spot for Roma / Napoli. Team like Atalanta and Lazio cannot maintain the consistency over two seasons in multiple competitions and end up being embarrassed.
on the 5th November, 2020 at 7:34pm
Second rate flash in the pan provincial side, finally showing their true colours.... Just like Napoli with Sarri... Leave the Champions League to the adults, please, and go about your seria A mid table business, where you belong....
on the 5th November, 2020 at 7:32pm

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