Jurgen Klopp admits 90-touch Liverpool wizard ran ‘out of gas’ during second half v Atalanta

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Jurgen Klopp admitted that one Liverpool player who ‘set the tempo’ during the first half against Atalanta on Thursday night ultimately ran ‘out of gas’.

The Reds bowed out of the Europa League after failing to overcome the 3-0 deficit from last week’s clash at Anfield, but it wasn’t for the want of trying from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was making his first start since 10 February after two months out through injury.

Speaking after last night’s match, the manager conceded that his team were unable to keep up the pace they’d shown prior to half-time, with the vice-captain’s influence waning as the minutes ticked by.

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Klopp said (via liverpoolfc.com): “The biggest problem for us in the second half was that we couldn’t keep that tempo. For us, you saw tonight in Trent Alexander-Arnold which player we didn’t have for a while now.

“As long as he was fresh, together with Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] he set the tempo, the rhythm, the direction of the game. Obviously he was running a bit out of gas [after half-time].”

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Trent’s 72-minute appearance last night was his longest involvement in a match since he played the entirety of the FA Cup win over Arsenal on 7 January (Transfermarkt), and with Liverpool going all-out in the first half as they tried to reel in Atalanta, it was understandable that the 25-year-old ultimately faded.

He was one of the main instigators of the revival that the Reds threatened in the early stages, winning the penalty that Mo Salah converted and bypassing the Nerazzurri press with some pinpoint long-range passing.

As per Sofascore, the vice-captain took 90 touches at the Gewiss Stadium, executing one key pass and finding a teammate with seven long balls. In the words of Paul Gorst, he provided ‘what Liverpool have missed’ recently with his wizardry on the ball.

It was a shame that Trent couldn’t keep up that early tempo beyond half-time as he naturally tired in only his second game back from his two-month injury layoff, and unfortunately the rest of his teammates also seemed to wilt after they re-emerged from the dressing room at the interval.

We now face into a frantic week containing three crucial Premier League fixtures in seven days, but the 25-year-old’s influence should grow even further with each passing appearance as he seeks to deliver a winning send-off for Klopp at Anfield over the next month.

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