A Diogo Jota hat-trick inspired Liverpool to an impressive 5-0 away victory against last season’s European surprise package, Atalanta.
Having regained their place at the summit of the Premier League at the weekend, Jurgen Klopp’s side took a giant leap towards securing their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, thrashing last season’s quarter-finalists on their own patch.
Having scored in each of Liverpool‘s last three outings – including netting winners in the wins over Sheffield United and West Ham – summer signing Diogo Jota got the Reds goal-fest underway with a deft finish over the goalkeeper following a lovely ball into the channel by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Jota would bag his second of the night in the 33rd minute, expertly controlling the ball down and rifling home an unstoppable finish at the near post having evaded the offside trap.
This touch and finish from Diogo Jota ⚡ pic.twitter.com/4gZb03obVv
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 3, 2020
Atalanta created a few decent chances, but the English champions had the game all wrapped up within four second-half minutes, Mohamed Salah finishing off a devastating counter-attack from a corner in the 47th minute, before Sadio Mane made it four just two minutes later; Salah playing the ball to his strike partner before the Senegalese forward lifted the ball over ‘keeper Marco Sportiello
However, it would be Jota who was once again the toast of Merseyside as he wrapped up his first treble for the Anfield outfit after latching onto a through ball from Mane, the Portuguese rounding the ‘keeper before finishing into an empty net to seal the emphatic win.
Speaking after the game, Klopp praised his side’s ‘incredible’ performance, saying his front three were simply unplayable.
21 – Mohamed Salah has now scored 21 goals for Liverpool in the Champions League, drawing level with Steven Gerrard as the club's highest goalscorer in European Cup/Champions League history. Dizzying. #UCL pic.twitter.com/pZcsID2kf6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 3, 2020
“That was a performance we needed tonight,” the German told BT Sport. “My boys played an incredible game, the front line defending and attacking was outstanding. Midfield organisation, desire, readiness. Top level, last line pushing up and knowing the threat Atalanta can cause. You win a game 5-0, you could score more goals but our goalie had to still make three world-class saves. Overall a really good game.
“It’s about the players, it was difficult against us tonight, I don’t think anyone could’ve defended against Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Diogo Jota so it wasn’t about the tactics or our system it was about the team.
“90% of my players have three games in the international break, my players are still on duty. After City this weekend it’s only me who gets a week off. But we have to recover now and we will need it. Then we can see who is available and City are a different team so we have to make sure we’re ready for that.”
The win leaves Liverpool top of Group D with maximum points, and they next face last season’s runners up Manchester City in a mouthwatering Premier League clash at the Etihad.