Jurgen Klopp explains positive reason why Liverpool 'must feel bad' after Atalanta horror show

Jurgen Klopp explains positive reason why Liverpool 'must feel bad' after Atalanta horror show

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has told his players to “go home and sleep bad” after a terrible performance in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Atalanta.

The Italians romped to a 3-0 win at Anfield on Thursday night to leave Liverpool’s hopes of winning the competition hanging by a thread.

Gianluca Scamacca’s double and a late Mario Pasalic goal sunk a tame performance from the Reds, which Klopp wants his players to use as motivation for Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace as the Premier League title fight hones back into view.

“I will watch this game on Monday, we play Crystal Palace on Sunday but I know if we do a couple of things better, we will be better - easy,” Klopp told TNT Sports.

“Can we win in Bergamo? Yes if we play good. Can we win 3-0? I have no idea. But that’s not important at the moment. We now have to recover and we must feel really, really bad. That’s important.

“In this moment it must be really bad. The boys must go home and sleep bad. That’s how it is. But when we meet tomorrow we have to prepare for Crystal Palace.

“A lot of performances tonight were really, ‘Oops, wow... I didn’t know he could play like that’. But I know this can happen and for that you have to create a team movement - they looked really alone in a lot of moments. Nobody to pass to, stuff like this.

“I know the boys can play better football but they didn’t do it tonight. They have to show a reaction on Sunday. I’m pretty sure they will do that.”

It was a tough watch for Klopp as well as the Anfield faithful as Gian Piero Gasperini’s side outworked them off the ball and took advantage of slack defending in a number of incisive attacks.

“Nothing really positive to say,” the German said.

“The start was good but then it became really bad. I didn’t like our tactical discipline in possession. We were everywhere which means then nowhere. No counter press, we played into their hands.

“How it could have worked we saw with the goal we scored, which was disallowed, finally was an underlap. [Andrew Robertson] arrives and passes the ball to score. We should have done that much more often.

“It was a bad game for us, Atalanta played a good game, scored three goals and obviously deserved to win.”

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk urged his teammates to believe in a comeback in next week’s second leg in Italy, stating that they will try to score “at least four goals”.

"It's half-time but 3-0 is not great,” admitted the club captain. “Too many individual mistakes and we got punished. It was bad.

"With their man-marking system, we had to do much better and keep it longer and stronger. They won most the 50-50s and the spaces were open.

"They punished us immediately, it's a very disappointing night. But we can't dwell on it for too long, we have a big game here on the weekend.

"If you don't have belief there's no point going to Italy, we've made it hard for ourselves but we focus on Crystal Palace. The only way to bounce back is winning that game. We have to switch back on then we'll focus on scoring at least four goals over there."