Atalanta took revenge for their home defeat by earning an historic and fully-deserved 2-0 victory at Anfield, beating Liverpool with Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens goals.
La Dea were still smarting after the 5-0 Bergamo drubbing and had stuttered in Serie A lately too, as injuries continued to mount for Ruslan Malinovskyi, Mario Pasalic, Fabio Depaoli and Mattia Caldara, so Gian Piero Gasperini surprisingly used Josip Ilicic and Papu Gomez as False 9s. Liverpool had serious problems too, missing Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Xherdan Shaqiri, but Mohamed Salah was back after recovering from COVID.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off for Napoli and Argentina legend Diego Armando Maradona.
Alisson needed an early save, almost propelled backwards by the ferocity of the Robin Gosens strike at the near post, then Gomez drilled just wide.
Atalanta had by far the better of the first half and passed it around well, without doubt an improvement on the Bergamo defeat.
Ilicic had penalty appeals for a shirt tug, but he probably went down too dramatically and made it look less like a foul than it was.
Mohamed Salah had the first Liverpool attempt on the stroke of half-time, firing over from a tight angle after a free kick.
Papu Gomez tested Alisson again after the restart, and the former Roma goalkeeper had to rush off his line to capture a Gomez through ball off the feet of Ilicic.
The pressure finally paid off with a well-deserved goal for Atalanta, as Gomez floated the ball over the top from the left and Ilicic came sliding in for a low volley from close range.
La Dea doubled their lead soon after with a trademark goal, as Hans Hateboer nodded down another Gomez cross at the back post for Robin Gosens on the volley from six yards relatively undisturbed.
It was the first time Liverpool had been 2-0 down at Anfield in the Champions League since October 2014. Pierluigi Gollini didn’t have a single save to make, and Atalanta continued to press for more goals, Duvan Zapata firing over the bar.
Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta
Ilicic 60 (A), Gosens 64 (A)
Liverpool: Alisson; N Williams, R Williams, Matip (Minamino 85), Tsimikas (Robertson 61); Milner, Wijnaldum (Fabinho 61), Jones; Salah (Firmino 61), Origi (Diogo Jota 61), Mane
Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens (Mojica 75); Ilicic (Duvan Zapata 70), Pessina (Miranchuk 85); Gomez
Ref: Del Cerro Grande (ESP)