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Giant-killers Atalanta ready to deal fatal blow to Liverpool

Atalanta have a chance to make history on Thursday as they welcome Liverpool to Bergamo with one foot in the Europa League semi-finals thanks to a stunning first-leg win at Anfield.

Atalanta once again punched way above their weight last week by dishing out a 3-0 hammering to Liverpool and are on the verge of reaching the last four of a European competition for the first time since 1988.

Back then Atalanta were a Serie B team and knocked out of the Cup Winners’ Cup by Belgian outfit Mechelen, but nowadays the Italians are competing with and beating an altogether higher class of opposition, reports AFP.

Last week’s win in England was probably the greatest European night in Atalanta’s history as their run to 2020 Champions League quarter-finals — where they were desperately unlucky to lose to Paris Saint-Germain — came at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic which devastated Bergamo.

It was also unexpected as Atalanta’s recent form has been patchy with three wins in 11 matches, and throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with struggling Verona on Monday reminded coach Gian Piero Gasperini of the dangers of complacency.

“Verona managed to score two goals against us in four minutes so we need to be careful. Liverpool are a team that came back from three goals down in a Champions League final against a team of greats,” said Gasperini to Sky Sport on Monday.

“We know that nothing has been decided and that we will have to play really well.”