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European hits and misses: Liverpool want a miracle in Atalanta return leg to maintain Europa League hopes alive | Soccer Information

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Liverpool down – but not completely out

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Mohamed Salah noticed a second-half strike in opposition to Atalanta chalked off after he had strayed offside

Liverpool want a miracle after dropping 3-0 at residence to Atalanta at Anfield. Both that, or a sprinkling of gold mud from the European vaults, the kind that sparks a comeback for the ages.

Liverpool and well-known European fightbacks. Rings a faint bell.

Many unforgettable nights have been loved in Europe underneath Jurgen Klopp. This was not considered one of them.

The German made six adjustments to the Reds’ beginning XI, in a bid to freshen issues up following a taxing journey to {Old} Trafford on the weekend, however the swaps did precisely the other.

The whole lot felt strained and laboured – ponderous in possession and ragged out of it.

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Tactically, Klopp admitted Liverpool “lost the plot”. The equal of pushing the massive purple ‘self-destruct’ button.

Requested if the tie was nonetheless alive post-match, he mentioned: “I do not need to discuss that”. Klopp’s ultimate European foray dangers ending with a moist squib, however for a miraculous restoration in Bergamo subsequent Thursday.

They could not, might they?
Laura Hunter

Alonso delivers Midas touch to break West Ham

Victor Boniface of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates scoring his team's second goal against West Ham
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Victor Boniface of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates scoring his aspect’s second objective in opposition to West Ham

The whole lot Xabi Alonso touches turns to gold – and West Ham discovered that out the arduous means.

David Moyes almost produced a masterclass in resolute defending as his aspect annoyed the hosts for 82 minutes. West Ham had even gone shut with the most effective likelihood of the primary half on the finish of a fast counter-attack.

However Alonso, the most popular property in administration, was not going to be denied arising in opposition to Premier League opposition for the primary time. His calm presence on the touchline transferred to his staff. Leverkusen stayed affected person.

Alonso’s first adjustments had been delicate. West Ham had been restricted going ahead way more within the second half than the primary as Leverkusen lower off the provision to Michail Antonio by shortly smothering Lucas Paqueta and Mohammed Kudus when the ball was turned over. The guests had no means out.

Jonas Hofmann of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates scoring against West Ham
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Jonas Hofmann celebrates scoring the opener in opposition to West Ham

Leverkusen would have scored sooner however for an impressed efficiency by Lukasz Fabianski. Nevertheless, Alonso knew he had high quality on the bench to name upon. He didn’t rush his substitutes, finally bringing on the 2 match-winners Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface with solely quarter-hour left so as to add the killer contact his aspect wanted.

Leverkusen can carry the Bundesliga title this weekend and are nicely on their solution to reaching the Europa League semi-finals subsequent week as Alonso’s Midas contact continues.
David Richardson

Villa stretched to limit in pursuit of European glory

Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Lille
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Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa in opposition to Lille

Paulo Fonseca, the Lille supervisor, will know that an early objective at residence subsequent week will change the complexion of a tie that’s large open after his aspect misplaced 2-1 at Villa Park. Villa have work to do with the intention to attain their first European semi-final since they gained the European Cup in 1982.

They’re locked in a battle with Spurs to complete within the Premier League high 4 and qualify for the Champions League, however they’re concurrently chasing their first trophy in 28 years. Within the Europa Convention League, they’re nonetheless going robust, however there may be no let up in France.

Unai Emery’s European pedigree – having gained 4 Europa Leagues at Sevilla and Villarreal – has given Villa an additional aura however the Spaniard will likely be eager to check his spectacular outfit in opposition to the continent’s finest groups subsequent time period.

Aston Villa's John McGinn celebrates scoring the second goal against Lille
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John McGinn celebrates scoring the second objective for Villa

The security internet of fifth place equating to an additional spot suffered a blow on Thursday evening given Liverpool and West Ham’s travails. Emery can not afford to shift his focus absolutely on ending the membership’s look ahead to silverware regardless of Opta’s supercomputer giving his aspect a 95 per cent likelihood of ending within the high 5 domestically.

He can not take his foot off the fuel in any recreation and chosen his strongest aspect regardless of going through Arsenal in three days’ time, realizing that managing the load at this stage of Europe’s third-best competitors will seemingly compromise Villa’s momentum.

Development all the way in which to the ultimate in Athens would imply one other 4 matches on high of their six remaining Premier League video games, so their squad will likely be examined in the event that they do make it that far. With Ollie Watkins within the aspect, something is feasible, although.
Ben Grounds

Martinez is the key to Villa’s lead

Villa owe their slender benefit to goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. The statistics recommend the Argentina worldwide has saved three extra targets than anticipated within the Premier League this season. It felt like he managed that in a single evening in opposition to Lille.

The stats will say the chances weren’t that badly in opposition to him however when gamers race behind the defence with solely the goalkeeper to beat, they’re upset in the event that they fail to complete. And but, in opposition to Martinez, the chances appear to tilt extra in his favour.

Emiliano Martinez was on form in Aston Villa's first-leg win over Lille in the Europa Conference League
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Emiliano Martinez was on kind in Aston Villa’s first-leg win over Lille within the Europa Convention League

The World Cup winner exudes confidence – vanity, even. Everybody noticed that in Qatar and he carries that fame with delight however the edge is technical in addition to psychological. He pressured Jonathan David large. Stood up when Edon Zhegrova seemed for the nook.

Emery has been a lot praised for his success at Villa – and rightly so. However this was an evening that provided a reminder of the significance of their goalkeeper in facilitating that. Don’t be stunned if Martinez makes the distinction within the return leg too.
Adam Bate

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