Jurgen Klopp’s men travelled to Italy last night to face an Atalanta side with a reputation for scoring goals. However, the big news before kick-off was Diogo Jota starting ahead of Roberto Firmino in that front three.
That proved to be a smart move from Klopp with Jota scoring twice within the first 33 minutes of the game. Those two goals saw the Reds take a 2-0 lead into the second half. Impressively, Liverpool came out smelling blood and added a further two goals within four minutes thanks to Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But the night belonged to Jota who calmly took the ball around the keeper to complete his hattrick in the 54th minute. The away side continued to threaten for the rest of the game but could not add to their tally.
This was a statement from the six-time winners but what did we learn from last night’s performance?
Diogo Jota deserves to start ahead of Roberto Firmino
The Portuguese international has hit the ground running since his move from Wolves during the last window. He has always impressed when coming off the bench or playing in a front four with Mane, Salah and Firmino. But last night was his moment to star in a front three with Mane and Salah playing either side of him.
He was a constant threat all game and scored the all impressive hattrick. However, it was his second goal that has made the case for him to start even stronger. His first touch to bring the ball out of the air with his left foot and the strike with his second touch was remarkable. Last night he showed all the technical and clinical attributes needed to be a Liverpool starter.
Rhys Williams and Alisson Becker shine at the back
It is hard to believe that last season Rhys Williams was playing for Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North. The 19-year old has made three appearances in this competition this season with two of those coming from the bench.
However, his first start came against the group’s most potent attack in Atalanta. Impressively, he did not look out of place on the pitch and looks like he could be in the side for years to come.
It is amazing how different this Liverpool side looks with a world-class goalkeeper in the team. Alisson just breathes confidence throughout this Liverpool side and staff. That was echoed by Jurgen Klopp after the game: “Mood outstanding. A really good game. We scored five goals and could have had more- Alisson (still had to make) made some world-class saves.”
The clean sheet was needed for the Brazilian’s confidence after coming back from injury.
Liverpool are serious contenders even without Virgil van Dijk
Last night’s game marked the halfway stage of the 2020/21 group stage, and Liverpool have taken maximum points so far. This is the first time in the club’s history that they have managed that feat.
Jurgen’s Reds are also still yet to concede a goal in this year’s competition as well. With the history this club has with the competition and some major clubs looking shaky, can Liverpool bring home number seven?