Liverpool head to Italy for a challenging match against Atalanta.
Jurgen Klopp rotates again, though not much is unexpected. Rhys Williams earns his first Champions League start. Curtis Jones gets the call again. And Diogo Jota gets the nod over Roberto Firmino.
This is the best half Liverpool have played all season. Diogo Jota is on fire. He nets a brace in the first half with two class finishes. The Reds end the first 45 up 2-0.
The onslaught really continued in the second half. Jota gets a hat-trick. Everyone was feasting. Liverpool got off 15 shots and an absurd 12 on target. The match ended 5-0 but it could’ve been 8 or 9.
Liverpool go comfortably atop Group D. They’re almost a lock to end the group in first.
Liverpool starting XI vs Atalanta
Liverpool Player Ratings vs Atalanta
Jurgen Klopp (9) –
Interesting but not totally unexpected starting XI. Klopp really puts trust in Curtis Jones. Going with Jota over Firmino is turning out to be a masterstroke.
Only nit is he should’ve subbed Salah and Mane earlier to rest them for Man City.
Alisson (8) –
A couple of first half saves but nothing too challenging. Faced a number of shots on target but nothing too threatening (although saved by the woodwork on Zapata’s killer strike).
Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) –
GUESS WHO’S BACK. BACK AGAIN. TRENT IS BACK. TELL A FRIEND.
Trent is looking like his old self finally. He’s got a good chemistry with Jota too, constantly finding him. Rightly earns an assist on the opener.
Subbed late for Neco.
Rhys Williams (7) –
The 19 year-old gets his first UCL start. Looks like a younger, skinnier VVD. Not rattled at all. Well done, Rhys.
Joe Gomez (7.5) –
Good and mature showing early. Picks out Jota for an incredible long pass leading to the second goal.
Andy Robertson (7) –
Looks sharp defensively on strong offensively. Switches and long balls are on point. Comes off to rest for Man City in the 65th.
Jordan Henderson (6) –
Being a nuisance in the midfield. Not a poor performance by any mean, just not as big of a standout as others.
Gini Wijnaldum (6.5) –
Going uber-aggressive and gets booked for horse collaring someone. Typical Gini workhorse showing.
Curtis Jones (7) –
Klopp still surprisingly rolling with a mostly unproductive Jones of late. Looking a bit better. Gets carelessly booked for mouthing off to ref. However, this is his best performance of the season. Clever (but not in a Harry Kane diving kind of way). Linking up well. Gets a great ball in to Salah earning an assist.
Diogo Jota (10) –
Gets the deserved nod over Bobby. On his front foot early getting a shot off in first couple of minutes.
And it’s 4 goals in 4 games for Jota! He’s on 🔥. Nets the opener with a confident finish.
And his second goal was an absolutely omg holy shit moment. What a goal.
AND HE’S NOT DONE YET. HAT TRICK AF FOR JOTA. What a confident run and finish.
Subbed off in the 66th hopefully to rest for the Man City match on Sunday.
Mo Salah (9) –
Playing with confidence. Dancing around three Atalantans at one point.
Starts the second half off with a classic Mo goal. Takes a feed from Jones straight to the house to put Liverpool up 3-0. Then like 4 seconds later feeds a great ball to Mane to put the Reds up 4-0. Sends one wide late after another breakaway he wishes he could have back. But still a great showing.
Sadio Mane (8) –
Lively and threatening early. In the 36th, awesome dispossession and curling effort only denied by a killer save. Gets his goal though after Salah delivers a perfectly weighted ball that Mane chips in brilliantly. Feeds a great ball to Jota for his hat trick.
The Looks Great in Training Naby Keita (NR) – Comes in the 65th. Will he look good in an actual match? Nah.
Roberto Firmino (NR) – Comes on for Jota. Immediately misses a couple of chances that Jota likely would’ve finished today. We’re pulling for you, Bobby. Find your form.
James Milner (NR) – On in the 66th to spell Hendo. Solid and strong way to close it out.
Neco Williams (NR) – On late but looked sharp.
Kostas Tsimikas (NR) – Gets some valuable minutes.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Diogo Jota. Don’t need much of an explanation.