Former Liverpool teammates disagree on Europa League approach after Atalanta debacle

Steven Chicken
Liverpool celebrate a goal in September 2004
Stephen Warnock and Jamie Carragher (second and third from right) were teammates at Liverpool

Former Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock believes Atalanta put in one of the finest performances he has ever seen from an opponent at Anfield…and that the Reds themselves may never have been worse under the departing Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool were comprehensively outclassed by the Italian side in a thoroughly rancid showing in their Europa League quarter-final first leg clash on Thursday evening.

Liverpool ‘looked like a team that has played 56 games’

Atalanta ran out three-goal winners after a Gianluca Scamacca brace was supplemented late on by Mario Pasalic’s strike. Boy, between that and Georgia’s qualification for Euro 2024, it’s quite the banner year for the Peach State, isn’t it?

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live after the game (obviously, he’s not clairvoyant), Warnock said: “They dominated Liverpool. They created so many chances.

“Liverpool were poor. They were arguably the worst I have ever seen them: wasteful in possession, so many mistakes all over the pitch…but they looked tired. They looked like a team that has played 56 games in a season, and you could just see tired minds and tired bodies.

“But take nothing away from Atalanta: they were magnificent. It was one of the best opposition performances I have seen at Anfield.

READ MORE: Klopp has ‘nothing positive to say’ after Atalanta stun Liverpool on ‘really bad night’

“I have been to some European nights and seen Liverpool outdone by opposition teams. That was hugely impressive. To come here and play the way they did and take the game to them, it’s outstanding.”

Warnock’s former Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher had suggested that Klopp now ought to sack off the second leg and concentrate on the league.

On the site we are supposed to pretend people call anything other than Twitter, Carragher wrote: “Awful result & performance from Liverpool, the only consolation about getting beat so heavily is Jurgen should play a full second string in the second leg & go all in for the league!”

Jamie Carragher: ‘Play the kids and go all in on the Premier League’

Warnock seemingly disagreed with that approach, however, suggesting that he expects Klopp’s side to try and pull off another trademark European comeback when they visit Bergamo for the second leg.

“As much as you want to put this game to bed, you have got to go there next week and try and win the game 4-0 now,” he said.

“That is a big, big ask for any team to do. If it had been the other way round and it had been at Atalanta, you’d back them to overturn it at Anfield.

“I find it very difficult to see them overturning this now. I know anything can happen in football, but Liverpool were way off it.”