Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners away at Atalanta, in part thanks to a Diogo Jota masterclass. The diminutive forward handed the away side an early lead, brushing defenders aside before lifting the ball beautifully over the keeper. Diogo Jota soon added a second — firing home clinically on the half volley to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead at half-time.
After the break, the travelling side picked up right where they left off, with Mohamed Salah getting his name on the scoresheet following an excellent run from inside his own half. Then Salah turned provider, setting up Sadio Mane to chip into the net. Not to be outdone, though, Jota sealed his first hat trick for the club with a wonderfully composed finish, rounding the keeper in style to make it 5-0.
The win puts Liverpool in firm control of Group D, after winning their first three Champions League matches.
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In the absence of Roberto Firmino, Jota was a more than a worthy replacement. Aside from his individual brilliance, his link-up play will be just as pleasing to Jurgen Klopp, as Salah and Mane both appeared to thrive in the attack alongside him. Furthermore, the sides’ academy graduates — Curtis Jones and Rhys Williams — both looked accomplished and comfortable at this level, Jones almost scoring, while Williams read the game excellently from central defence. Overall, this was a remarkably complete European display from the Reds.
It’s hard to poke holes in Liverpool’s performance tonight — especially when they have just scored five goals away from home. With that being said, there are a couple of areas of concern — the most obvious being how shaky Alisson looked in the first half. Aside from that, the Liverpool midfielders did lack discipline at times, with Georginio Wijnaldum being particularly lucky to avoid a red card.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Brought Jota into the starting XI, which turned out to be an absolute masterstroke. Jota functioned excellently well in the side, while the midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Wijnaldum, and Jones was similarly effective. Nathaniel Phillips may have been tremendous against West Ham at the weekend, but Klopp instead opted for Rhys Williams at the back tonight. Again, this selection paid off well, as Williams was arguably more suited to defend against Atalanta’s long-ball style of play. This was unquestionably one of the German manager’s best away wins in Europe.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7 — Kept the ball out well enough, but his stops, which were all relatively routine, didn’t look entirely convincing. Grew into the game after his shaky start.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 — At the heart of everything good that Liverpool did going forward in the first half. Assisted Jota’s opener.
DF Joe Gomez, 8 — Played a vital role in helping his side seal a famous away win. A clean sheet will do his confidence the world of good.
DF Rhys Williams, 8 — Read the game beautifully, sweeping up whenever balls were played over the top. His football IQ shows a level of understanding well beyond his years.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 — Not quite as influential as Alexander-Arnold, but his work rate and link-up play with Mane was nevertheless impressive.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 — Kept possession well, helping Liverpool to transition effectively, and get the ball up to the highly potent front three. As ever, the captain won’t quite get the plaudits he fully deserves.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — Got booked in the first half, but recovered well, providing good energy in both defence and attack.
Diogo Jota continued his scintillating form with a hat trick at Atalanta, possibly making a case to replace Roberto Firmino up top for Liverpool. Getty
MF Curtis Jones, 8 — Arguably should have scored in the first half, but his perfectly-weighted through ball which set Salah though on goal for Liverpool’s third was evidence of the youngsters’ true quality.
FW Diogo Jota, 10 — An inspired display, one that will surely drop Firmino to the bench for the foreseeable future. His hat trick was Fernando Torres-esque, demonstrating the kind of composure in front of goal that the Portuguese forward has featured since arriving at Anfield. Simply sensational.
FW Mohamed Salah, 9 — If the first half was the Jota show, then the second period firmly belonged to the Egyptian. His excellent finish on the break was great enough, but not content with this, he perfectly played Mane through on goal — who duly added Liverpool’s fourth.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 — Won’t steal as many headlines as his two attacking peers, but the 28-year-old played a vital role in the rout. His lofted finish in the second half was just reward for his overall contributions to the team.
DF James Milner, 6 — Solid at left-back, after replacing the inventive Robertson.
MF Naby Keita, 6 — Minimal impact on the game, but the midfielder is still working his way back to full fitness.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Looked sharp in the final third, but his efforts at goal were often blocked or wayward.
DF Neco Williams N/R — Defended well in the closing stages
DF Konstantinos Tsimikas, N/R — A decent late cameo following a long layoff with injury.