The biggest challenge in Liverpool’s Champions League group – as Jürgen Klopp had labelled an away game at Atalanta – proved no challenge at all. It was a demolition, an exhibition, with Diogo Jota’s hat-trick the individual highlight of a collective statement against last season’s quarter-finalists.
Jota became the third Liverpool player after Michael Owen and Sadio Mané to register a hat-trick on the road in Europe in only his fifth start for the club. Mané scored too, as did Mohamed Salah to equal Steven Gerrard’s record of 21 Champions League goals for Liverpool.
The rout could have been greater, but there was no need for nit-picking on the night Klopp’s team took complete control of their group with a third straight win and clean sheet.
“Everything I said before the game [about Atalanta] is still 100% true,” the Liverpool manager insisted. “I am in the business long enough to see when another team is playing good football and can cause each team in the world problems. That didn’t change because of the game and the result tonight.
“We are good as well. We know that but we have to fulfil our potential, and that’s what the boys did. We defended Atalanta on an incredibly high level and played top football ourselves.”
Atalanta have a well-founded reputation for free-scoring and open football. They were certainly open in Bergamo, sliced open too, but the only threat they posed was at 5-0 down and after Klopp had started making changes in readiness for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City. Continue reading