It was becoming that Atalanta have been pushed to arguably their most memorable European result by their very own diminutive and inspirational No.10 on the day that soccer misplaced the best to ever match that description.
Diego Maradona’s passing shocked the world on Wednesday. Naples was illuminated in reminiscence of their adopted son, Argentina declared three days of mourning, and tributes from everybody concerned in soccer flooded social media.
There has by no means been one other participant fairly like him. Lionel Messi is consistently in contrast together with his compatriot, which is to be anticipated given the similarities of their recreation. However soccer isn’t nearly what occurs on the pitch. A lot of it’s intangible, and Maradona maybe demonstrates that greatest. He was an icon, and he was cherished like a son or a brother to so many.
“We’re going to overlook you numerous,” Atalanta’s Papu Gomez wrote on Instagram upon listening to of El Diego‘s passing earlier than the sport on Wednesday, “all of us Argentines and all of us who dream of sporting that quantity.
“Soccer additionally died immediately. You gave pleasure to so many individuals.”
Grieving, Gomez channelled his feelings in the easiest way possible at Anfield, and he was instrumental in guiding Atalanta to a 2-0 win away on the Premier League champions.
From early on, the Argentine dictated the tempo and wriggled away from the closest Reds participant simply once they had thought they have been shut sufficient to mark him, although that received’t have come as a terrific shock to their boss.
“We expect Gomez is up entrance, however Gomez is in all places,” Jurgen Klopp advised BT Sport pre-match, evidently attempting to make sense of Gian Piero Gasperini’s XI on dwell tv.
Klopp, in so few phrases, completely described what Papu has turn out to be beneath Gasperini. Initially a left-winger, he then moved in to occupy a No.10 function, however for 18 months he’s been doing a lot extra – he’s been doing all of it. In possession, he’s turn out to be a regista and a trequartista all rolled into one, relying on the place on the pitch La Dea are in possession, and what number of gamers have already galloped ahead to hitch the assault. With out the ball, he’s a battling ball-winning midfielder, which he’s too seldom credited for.
Papu knocked and knocked, however Liverpool’s door wouldn’t open for the primary half. Within the second, although, he discovered the correct key.
Discovering himself in a pocket of area between the hosts’ midfield and defence, Gomez curled an inch-perfect ball into Alisson Becker’s field. It was simply shut sufficient to aim that the defenders couldn’t cope with it and the Brazilian was teased to come back for it, however simply far sufficient away that he couldn’t attain it earlier than Josip Ilicic stretched out his proper foot to open the scoring.
4 minutes later, Gomez delivered once more. From roughly the identical a part of the pitch, he curled one other cross to the again publish for Hans Hateboer to knock into Robin Gosens’ path for the second, after which it was backs to the wall.
Gomez spent the remainder of his night combating in entrance of his personal space and giving his teammates essential respiratory time when he had the ball as he carried it into the Liverpool half.
Atalanta’s captain was at his perfect on Wednesday. He was twinkle-toed and a delight to observe, as he has so typically been for the Nerazzurri.
Papu Gomez grew up dreaming of Diego Maradona, dreaming of sporting that No.10 and being given hope by the Napoli’s legend’s excellence. At Anfield, he confirmed the world why a technology in Bergamo will develop up with those self same desires of sporting that shirt.