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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has advised his team to brace themselves for a “super-disciplined” Atalanta as they prepare to face the Italian side in a Europa League quarter-final at Anfield on Thursday.

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Atalanta eliminated Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon in the previous round, although they have only managed to secure two victories in their last nine matches across all competitions. Nonetheless, Klopp anticipates challenges from Atalanta, managed by the seasoned Gian Piero Gasperini.

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“There are only great teams left in the competition now,” Klopp remarked during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “It’s truly remarkable, and we understand what Atalanta brings to the table. Gasperini has been doing an incredible job there for years, and it’s always difficult to face Italian teams.”

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“Tactically, they are highly disciplined and pose threats in various areas, so we need to be at our peak to progress to the next round over these two legs,” Klopp added.

In his final season at Anfield, Klopp noted the possibility of Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Alisson Becker featuring against Atalanta, all of whom have been sidelined due to injuries since February.

“We haven’t rushed their return,” Klopp explained. “They’ve undergone extensive individual training. Diogo and Trent have been training together for two to three weeks now, and their progress has been excellent, especially during Tuesday’s session.”

“It’s always a challenge to reintegrate players, but given their quality, it should be somewhat easier. We’ll utilize them in the coming days and weeks. Regarding tomorrow’s match, I haven’t made a decision yet,” Klopp stated.

Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott expressed his readiness to assume a starting role rather than being relegated to the bench.

“I aspire to be the player starting the game, not just coming off the bench,” the 21-year-old Elliott asserted. “Although I’m grateful for every opportunity I get in a Liverpool shirt, my focus is on advancing and securing my place in the team.”

“I’m no longer a kid; I’m growing up fast. I feel the need to take on more responsibility. If that means discussing it with the manager, then I’ll have to do so. However, I understand the importance of waiting for my chances and being patient,” Elliott concluded.

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