Liverpool Lost the Plot in Atalanta Defeat, Says Klopp

 Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
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Liverpool Lost the Plot in Atalanta Defeat, Says Klopp

 Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)

Liverpool lacked tactical discipline against Atalanta on Thursday and fully deserved their 3-0 defeat in the Europa League quarter-final first leg match, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Gianluca Scamacca struck either side of halftime before Mario Pasalic capped an impressive win for the Italians at Anfield as Liverpool slumped to their joint-heaviest home defeat in European competition.

"It just was a really bad game, oh my God. We started well, really well, and then didn't continue. I think even before they scored, we just lost the plot a little bit, we were everywhere and nowhere," Klopp told reporters.

"(The) midfield was spread like that, right midfielder left side, left midfielder, striker. I didn't recognize that, that was really strange. In football terms that's tactical discipline.

"We played a bad game, we deserved to lose and we must feel that now."

Liverpool will seek to overturn the deficit in the second leg in Italy next week, but before that they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

With the Merseyside club involved in a tight title race with Arsenal and Manchester City, Klopp said the players had to move on from Thursday's defeat quickly.

"The boys have exactly this night to feel bad about it and then we have to build up again for the Crystal Palace game, that's how it is," he added.

"This was a low point for us performance-wise tonight, I would say, for a long time."



Still Plenty of Fear for Real Madrid Coach Ancelotti Despite Champions League Final Successes 

Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gives a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2024 ahead of their Champions League final football match against Borussia Dortmund. (AFP)
Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gives a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2024 ahead of their Champions League final football match against Borussia Dortmund. (AFP)
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Still Plenty of Fear for Real Madrid Coach Ancelotti Despite Champions League Final Successes 

Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gives a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2024 ahead of their Champions League final football match against Borussia Dortmund. (AFP)
Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gives a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2024 ahead of their Champions League final football match against Borussia Dortmund. (AFP)

Carlo Ancelotti is going into his eighth Champions League final, having won all but one of them.

He is the most successful coach in the competition thanks to four titles. He also lifted two European trophies as a player.

There is no lack of experience for the veteran Italian manager. But there is still plenty of anxiety and fear for Ancelotti ahead of yet another big game.

“It’s the same as it was the first time,” the 64-year-old Ancelotti said as Real Madrid entered the final week of preparations ahead of Saturday’s final against Borussia Dortmund in London.

“First there is the joy of being here, then the concerns will come and the fear will come,” he said. “But before they come we have to enjoy this week and I’m going to enjoy it. The cold sweat will arrive Saturday afternoon, it’s normal, I’m already prepared for it. And this team gives me a lot of confidence, I see them focused on the match, they are in Champions (League) mode.”

Ancelotti won the Champions League with Madrid in 2022 and 2014, and with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. He lost the 2005 edition with AC Milan in a final in a penalty shootout against Liverpool after squandering a 3-0 lead.

His European triumphs as a player came with Milan in 1989 and 1990. He was also in the squad with Roma when it reached the 1984 final but he sat out injured.

Ancelotti said he will stick to his routine before the final at Wembley Stadium.

“I’m a bit superstitious but it’s very normal. I was told that it’s bad luck not to be superstitious,” he said. “I like to eat broccoli, salmon and pasta, and that’s what I’ll eat. Then I’ll have an hour’s nap, if I’m able to. And then I’ll start thinking about the match. Before the talk with the players, my heart will start to rise to 110 or 120 beats. It’ll stay up there until the start of the game, and when it starts it will go back to its normal rhythm.”

Ancelotti said some of his most memorable Champions League highlights are linked to his time with Madrid, including the incredible run in 2022, when it had to rally several times to make it to the final. He also mentioned the late comeback in the semifinal against Bayern Munich a few weeks ago, when Joselu scored in the 88th minute and in stoppage time.

Ancelotti said this season was especially difficult because of the long list of injuries to some of the team’s key players, including serious knee problems to Thibaut Courtois, Éder Militão and David Alaba. Also missing time because of injuries were Vinícius Júnior, Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni.

“Attitude and commitment have been the key to overcoming all the problems we’ve had,” Ancelotti said. “That’s what allowed us to have a fantastic season.”

Madrid, which also won the Spanish league and the Spanish Super Cup, is trying to win its sixth European Cup in 10 seasons, matching a feat the club also achieved from 1955-65.

Ancelotti said he prides himself more about the way he has managed his locker rooms than his teams’ tactics over the years.

“Personal relationships are more important than professional relationships,” he said. “I’m not a psychologist but I’m experienced as I’ve worked for many years in locker rooms. I try to treat people with respect not only in tactical aspects but also in personal aspects. I’m in an environment with 50 people and I spend more time with them than with my wife and children. So if there are not good relationships and there is not a good atmosphere, then I’m not doing my job.”