Liverpool have an opportunity to make a huge step into progressing into the next round of the Champions League this evening, but Jurgen Klopp will have a tough decision to make. The Reds have made it two wins from two to start the Champions League campaign, against Ajax and Midtjylland respectively.
It leaves them two points clear of Atalanta, who last week drew against Ajax.
Liverpool have had to take a somewhat reserved approach to their opening two matches with Klopp facing a defensive crisis at Anfield.
Virgil van Dijk is unavailable for the foreseeable future and Fabinho is not expected back until after the international break.
Joel Matip has returned to training, but the game against Atalanta could come too soon.
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With limited choices available in defence, Klopp has opted for a more reserved midfield trio in recent weeks.
Against Midtjylland, the Liverpool boss had Jordan Henderson and James Milner play in behind Xherdan Shaqiri.
Milner also started the game against Ajax, providing more defensive cover in midfield than any of his other options with Fabinho playing centre-back.
And the Reds are yet to concede in the Champions League, although their defensive record will be tested this evening against a free-flowing attacking side like Atalanta.
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The Italian side have already scored 23 goals in their opening eight games in all competitions and Liverpool’s makeshift backline will be up against it.
Klopp also has the small matter of looking ahead to this weekend’s Premier League encounter with Manchester City, suggesting he will make some changes from the 2-1 win over West Ham.
But the Liverpool boss may need to lean more towards his attacking options this evening in order to first get a result against Atalanta.
A win against the Italian side would put Liverpool on the cusp of progressing to the Champions League knockout stages with three games still remaining.
That could prove pivotal in Liverpool’s bid to retain their Premier League title with fixtures coming thick and fast after the next international break.
Atalanta know they need to win and will likely come with an attacking mindset, but Liverpool have proven over the years that they’re more than a match for any team going forward.
Klopp has been forced to rein in his forward players so far to help protect the defence in Europe, but now’s the time to let them loose and put down a marker.
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