Liverpool, beware – 5 Atalanta players to watch out for in Europa League quarter-final

For a short but sweet while, Atalanta were the heartthrobs of European football.

Their first Champions League adventure in 2019/20 saw them play their home games down the road in Milan at San Siro – and they were the only team occupying that famous old stadium to reach the knockout stages that year.

Atalanta were minutes away from qualifying for the semi-finals that season before conceding twice late on to PSG, ending one of the European Cup’s great fairytales of recent years.

The grandmaster behind that side, Gian Piero Gasperino, is still in the Atalanta dugout and will be looking to claim a scalp against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of this season’s Europa League.

His squad has undergone a few cosmetic changes since their last deep run in Europe. Here are the players the Reds should be wary of.

Teun KoopmeinersTeun Koopmeiners

If you squint, he looks like a beardless, cheap imitation of Alexis Mac Allister / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

A man whose name will likely be familiar to Liverpool fans who love transfer rumours is Teun Koopmeiners.

The Netherlands international has openly admitted he wants to leave this summer, with Juventus and Liverpool among the teams persistently linked with a move for him.

Koopmeiners started his career as a deep-lying midfielder who was also capable of filling in at centre-back, but he’s excelled this season in a more advanced role behind the strikers, contributing 13 goals in 37 games.

Ederson Da SilvaEderson Da Silva

A man who is in demand / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

Another gossip column regular is Ederson (no, obviously not that one).

Though he remains uncapped by Brazil – a tough ask considering midfielders from Fulham, West Ham and Wolves are getting in nowadays – Ederson is firmly one of the best up-and-coming stars in Serie A.

He is likely to start at the base of a midfield which also features ex-Middlesbrough man and Twitter extraordinaire Marten de Roon.

Ademola LookmanAdemola Lookman

Lookman is heading back to Merseyside / Emilio Andreoli/GettyImages

Former Everton forward Ademola Lookman will be keen to get one over his old rivals on Thursday night.

After bouncing round from club-to-club in the early portion of his career, Wandsworth native and Nigerian hero Lookman seems to have found a home at Atalanta, bringing mobility and a cutting edge to their attack in a front two.

Gianluca ScamaccaGianluca Scamacca

Scamacca looks more at home back in Italy / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

Ah, a jumpscare for any West Ham fans who might have stumbled across this.

In fairness to Gianluca Scamacca, it’s hard to blame him too much for his underwhelming time in east London – he doesn’t play like the target man David Moyes craved, he just so happens to be really tall.

Having battled injuries earlier in the season, Scamacca has returned to form recently and will want to rewrite any lingering narrative left on these shores from his Premier League days.

Isak HienIsak Hien

Hien is a relative newcomer to Atalanta / Emilio Andreoli/GettyImages

There’s no guarantee Isak Hien starts on Thursday night, but would you rather read about him or Premier League flops Sead Kolasinac and Davide Zappacosta? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

In fairness to Hien, he’s adapted well to life with Atalanta so far having only made the move from Hellas Verona in January, while he was still playing club football in his native Sweden only two years ago.

Hien is a mobile and physical aerial threat – we need to see him battle Darwin Nunez.


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