Colombian worldwide forwards Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel are two weapons Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini can depend on towards Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool within the Champions League on Tuesday in Bergamo.
For Gasperini the match at dwelling towards the six-time Champions League winners is proof his aspect have earned their place among the many greatest in Europe.
“We needed to face groups of nice status, extraordinary golf equipment for his or her historical past,” stated Gasperini.
“That is already an achievement. The sport we’ll play is actually energising us.”
Atalanta’s first Champions League marketing campaign final season began badly, shedding their first three group matches, earlier than selecting up pace to make the ‘closing eight’ in Portugal.
This time, they’ve 4 factors from two video games and are second in Group D behind 2019 winners Liverpool, largely because of Zapata and Muriel’s targets.
A Zapata double pulled Atalanta again to carry Ajax 2-2 final week in Bergamo, his third objective after scoring together with Muriel in a 4-0 win over Danish membership Midtjylland.
On the home entrance, 29-year-old Zapata has scored two targets, and Muriel, additionally 29, is on 4 after a brace in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Crotone.
For the pair, each born in April 1991, it’s a rivalry going again to their time on the Colombian U20 staff.
Zapata’s arrival at Atalanta in 2018, initially on mortgage from Sampdoria, has coincided with essentially the most profitable interval within the membership’s historical past.
“What I am experiencing at Atalanta is particular,” stated Zapata.
“I’ve by no means had such a interval in my profession.”
After a sluggish begin with only one objective in 13 league video games, Zapata had his breakthrough season in 2018-2019, second high scorer within the league with 23 — two greater than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atalanta completed third to qualify for a primary marketing campaign of elite European soccer, with Zapata serving to persuade Muriel to signal the next season from Sevilla.
“Duvan already advised me a bit about Atalanta, all stunning issues,” stated Muriel.
“He is a real buddy. I’ve recognized him for a few years, we had been additionally teammates on the U-20 World Cup. In assault, we have linked up many instances.”
– Tremendous sub –
In his debut season, Muriel earned a popularity as a super-sub, scoring 18 Serie A targets regardless of solely beginning 10 matches.
Zapata, additionally scored 18 however in 28 video games final season, having being sidelined for months with an damage picked up on worldwide responsibility with Colombia.
Atalanta once more completed third with 98 targets scored.
Each Colombians’ careers have been intertwined since beginning taking part in within the metropolis of Cali with Zapata at America de Cali and Muriel, Deportivo Cali.
After a stint in Argentina, Zapata arrived in Italy, taking part in backup to Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli earlier than happening to Udinese and Sampdoria, two golf equipment Muriel additionally performed for on his arrival in Europe.
Zapata missed out on the 2018 World Cup, with Muriel taking part in in Russia as Colombia didn’t make the quarter-finals after a last-16 penalty shootout defeat to England.
However each have impressed not too long ago for Colombia, every scoring, Muriel getting a double in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win towards Venezuela in October.
Within the build-up to the Liverpool recreation, Gasperini rotated the forwards with Muriel beginning and Zapata approaching after the break towards Crotone.
The Bergamo aspect are one of the crucial attacking groups in Italy, with 23 targets in all competitions from 9 completely different gamers, 5 from captain Papu Gomez.
Sufficient to trigger complications for Liverpool’s defenders.
“The one massive remorse is that the general public will not be there,” stated Gasperini.
“I might solely think about what Tuesday’s match might be towards Liverpool in entrance of the gang in Bergamo. Such an essential Champions League match.
“There would have been a lot pleasure and expectation. It is actually merciless for us that this may not be capable to occur.”