Liverpool topped their Champions League after demolishing Atalanta, courtesy of Jota’s first hat-trick in Liverpool colors. The absence of Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho wasn’t felt as Liverpool’s forward put on a scintillating performance to make it three wins from three.
Jurgen Klopp made a couple of changes to the team that won against West Ham by bringing in Jota and Rhys Williams in place of Firmino and Nat Phillips. Duvan Zapata and Jose Luis started for Atalanta, while Amad Traore, who would move to Manchester United in January was named on the bench.
Jota almost opened the scoring for Liverpool in the second minute after a mazy run into Atalanta’s box ended with the attacker’s chip being smothered by the goalkeeper. The front three of Liverpool combined well to craft a chance for Mane, whose shot heading to the top right corner was tipped over the bar brilliantly by Sportiello. Liverpool opened the scoring through Jota in the 16th minute after Alexander-arnold found him with a neat slide-rule pass, as the attacker fended off the Palomino’s challenge to flick the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net. Atalanta couldn’t create enough chances as Liverpool resigned them to take shots outside the box, which rarely troubled Alisson. Liverpool quickly doubled their lead, again through Jota, as he collected Gomez’s diagonal pass inside the box before knocking it past Hateboer and lashing into bottom left corner. Mane was denied again by Sportiello after the Senegalese’s curler was denied by a brilliant fingertip save.
Liverpool started where they left off as Salah scored Liverpool’s third of the game in the second minute after Atalanta’s corner clearance fell to the forward, leaving him on a one on one with Hateboer. The Egyptian strode forward and curled an unstoppable effort into the top left. Things went from bad to worse for Atalanta when Mane scored Liverpool’s fourth, two minutes after Salah’s strike, after the latter slipped in Mane to chip his effort over the onrushing Sportiello. Jota, who was having an impressive night scored his first hat-trick of his Liverpool career after collecting Mane’s pass from left and rounding off the goalkeeper to roll it into an empty net. Atlanta were unlucky to not score when Zapata’s screamer cannoned off the post. Jurgen Klopp was shown a yellow card for protesting a penalty appeal after Jones was eased off the ball by Mojica with a shoulder charge. Sportiello denied Salah and Mane later in the game as Liverpool recorded their biggest victory since winning at Porto two years ago.
Jurgen Klopp, who was satisfied with his team’s complete performance said “It was the performance we needed. The opponent is really strong and can cause you massive problems, and my boys played an incredible game. Front line, defending and attacking, outstanding. Midfield organisation, desire, readiness, top level. We win the game 5-0, could score more goals, yet your goalie has to make three world-class saves! So everybody was involved. It was a really good game. I don’t think any system could have defended tonight against Sadio, Mo and Diogo.“