Jamie Carragher names four Liverpool players he’d like to see starting second leg v Atalanta

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Jamie Carragher has sought to clarify what he meant by advising Liverpool to go with a ‘second string’ line-up for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Atalanta.

The Reds’ European involvement is dangling by a thread after they lost 0-3 at home to the Serie A side last Thursday, leaving them with a huge mountain to climb for the return fixture in Bergamo later this week.

The Sky Sports pundit advocated for a much-changed line-up to be fielded in Italy in deference to the Premier League campaign, although he’s insisted that he wasn’t calling for a virtual under-21 team to be put out against the Nerazzurri.

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Speaking to the Liverpool Echo on Saturday, Carragher clarified: “When I said ‘second string’ I wasn’t talking about the kids. I meant, you know, give Trent [Alexander-Arnold] a game, give Diogo Jota a game, Curtis Jones, maybe the goalkeeper [Alisson Becker] plays.

“When you’ve got to play four away in 10 days because they’ve got to go to Atalanta on the Thursday and then Fulham on the Sunday, I was just thinking playing your best team and trying to give it absolutely everything and it might not be enough, because it is going to be tough.

“Then you go to Fulham and you’re not at your best and it doesn’t go well at Fulham, you are then falling behind in the league. The Premier League title is so much bigger than the Europa League. We all want to win both but we have put ourselves in a difficult position but we have still got ourselves in a great position in the league.

“We’re in a better position in the league than we are now in the Europa League, so for me I just think the league is too important, especially if we win against Crystal Palace. Fulham is much more important than Atalanta and even getting through.”

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There’s logic to Carragher’s suggestion that Jurgen Klopp may be best advised to play the percentages and field a much-changed line-up next Thursday, given the scale of the task that Liverpool face in Europe amid a Premier League title charge where there’s no room for error.

The German was questioned over the alterations he made to the team for the first leg, with his decision to start with Mo Salah, Luis Diaz, Andy Robertson and Dominik Szoboszlai on the bench backfiring as then Reds sunk to a heavy defeat.

However, considering the spate of injuries with which we’ve had to contend earlier this season, it makes sense for the manager to utilise the enviable squad depth that he now has, especially with such a hectic period of crucial fixtures coming up.

Obviously we want to see Liverpool excelling on all fronts, but if a European exit on Thursday is the price to pay for winning every Premier League match (and ultimately the domestic title) until the end of the campaign, most fans would probably sign up for that right now.

Klopp could still go with a reasonably strong team against Atalanta and make a few alterations for the Fulham clash three days later with what he’d consider to be the ‘best’ starting XI available to him.

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More Stories Alisson Becker Atalanta Curtis Jones Diogo Jota Jamie Carragher Liverpool Trent Alexander-Arnold


  1. Our nighty team is the best since every player is so good but only and only luck however Liverpool will come back against Atalanta on Thursdays, recall Liverpool versus Barcelona

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