Gasperini praises 'extraordinary' Liverpool as Atalanta aim for Champions League repeat

By Sports Desk October 10, 2020

Gian Piero Gasperini knows Atalanta will not be able to catch anyone by surprise in this season's Champions League as they aim to qualify from a difficult group that includes Liverpool.

The Serie A side marked their debut campaign in Europe's leading club competition in 2019-20 by reaching the quarter-finals, having fought back impressively from a shocking start to qualify for the knockout stages.

Atalanta overcame three straight defeats to progress behind Manchester City, and will once again come up against the reigning Premier League champions this term.

They have been drawn alongside Liverpool, a team Gasperini describes as "extraordinary" following their achievements in recent years under Jurgen Klopp, as well as Ajax and Midtjylland.

The aim once again is for Atalanta to make the last 16, even if opponents know what to expect when they come up against them now.

"Liverpool are an extraordinary team. They won the Champions League two years ago and last season they dominated the Premier League," Gasperini said while appearing at the Festival dello Sport.

"They are one of the best teams in the world and it's going to be very difficult against them, as it was against Manchester City.

"I always said that in this sort of game we need to learn as much experience as we can, despite the need to get results.

"Obviously we hope to do well, as we did against City. Our goal is to come out from Liverpool's games with more knowledge of what it means to face the best teams in the world.

"Our ambition is to pass the group stage and if last season we were a surprise for many people, this year we are not. But to go through against Ajax, and also the Danish team Midtjylland, we will need to do something very important."

Atalanta finished third in the Italian top flight in 2019-20 and have started the new campaign in outstanding form, reeling off three successive victories prior to the international break while scoring a combined total of 13 goals.

In doing so, they became the first team in the history of Serie A to have scored four or more in each of their first three games of a season. The last side to achieve that feat in the top five European leagues was Real Madrid, back in 1987-88.

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