Another Champions League win, but this time it was accompanied by entertaining attacking football and very good performances as Liverpool thrashed Atalanta 5-0.
Atalanta 0-5 Liverpool
Champions League (3), Stadio di Bergamo
November 3, 2020
Goals: Jota 16′ 33′ 54′, Salah 47′, Mane 49′
Alisson (out of 10) – 9
Saved with feet after awkward mishit shot from Luis Muriel, then saved slightly more comfortably from a better-hit effort from the Colombian shortly after.
While Muriel posed the first-half test, his compatriot Zapata took over in the second, but neither could find a way past the big Brazilian.
He made some particularly good saves from Zapata in the second period.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9
Made a bright start and built from there. Played dangerous ball through to Salah, and looked to have the beating of Johan Mojica down the wing.
There was lots of space on the pitch for long passing and crossing, and No. 66 found some of that space to release Jota for the opener.
Rhys Williams – 8
Looked at home at this level – a great thing to say about a player who has gone from the National League to the Champions League within the year.
It’s easy to forget he was playing against seasoned Colombia internationals and one of the best attacking units in Europe, and he kept them quiet for the most part.
If anything Zapata had more joy against Gomez, but both combined, with help from Alisson, to keep a clean sheet.
Joe Gomez – 8
Had plenty to do early on and stuck with his man once engaged even if it meant he sometimes drifted out of position, but this seemed part of the plan.
Stepped into midfield and did well to spot Jota, and even better to play the ball over the defence into the path of the Portuguese for the second.
A strong, decisive presence and a performance to reflect that.
Andy Robertson – 8
His crossfield balls to Trent’s side of the pitch were a feature of the game, but his shot in the first half only featured in the stands, much to Klopp’s amusement.
More tireless running up and down the left.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Neat and tidy, occasionally creative. Let his team-mates do the more noticeable things and acted as a pivot in midfield, perhaps saving his energy for Man City at the weekend as his team-mates played off and around him.
Still finished the game with more key passes than any other Liverpool player, despite leaving the pitch just after an hour.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8
Did a few good fouls but was then sensible once booked. A good protector of the ball and a clever dribbler in midfield.
Just when you are wondering if he’s still on the pitch, he pops up and does lots in one go.
Dropped to the deep-lying role after Henderson was substituted.
Curtis Jones – 9
Save for one loss of possession that led to a chance for Atalanta, he looked a lot more useful than he has done in recent disappointing outings, and was more than merely useful as the game went on.
Had one decent effort on goal after a good drive forward, and remained on the pitch for an energetic and hard-working 90 minutes.
Set Salah free with a really good pass from a corner for the third, and did similar in open play to start the counter-attack via Mane which produced the fifth.
Finished the game with more touches than any other player (89) and completed 93 percent of his passes.
Mohamed Salah – 9
Good speed and strength to give the Atalanta defence problems early on, latching on to a Trent ball that asked lot if him.
Broke rapidly from Jones’s pass and curled one into the far corner just when it looked like he had run out of space.
Sent Mane through for the fourth shortly after, showing his creative side, then had a shot from the edge of the centre circle, because why not when you’re 5-0 up?
Diogo Jota – 10 (Man of the Match)
Are there any better Portuguese footballers? Can’t think of any.
Something Lionel Messi-like about his determination to stay on his feet despite being fouled, and then the dinked finish for his first of three goals.
Liverpool normally send new signings to the gym on arrival but Jota was all over José Luis Palomino and the others, so there are no worries on that front.
Looked comfortable as a centre-forward at this level, a bonus for Liverpool who need one of those to support and put pressure on Firmino.
His second goal was a well-hit effort after taking down Gomez’s pass and making space, and his third was the finish of someone who doesn’t miss chances at the moment, so looked easy.
Pace, power, intelligent runs, and clinical finishing.
Sadio Mane – 9
A couple of nice touches and shots early on, especially a curling effort from outside the area after he had won the ball himself that Marco Sportiello di well to save at full stretch.
Got his name on the scoresheet in what was an excellent, fun night for the Senegalese and his fellow attackers.
Played a really nice pass to Jota for the fifth.
James Milner (on for Henderson, 65′) – 6
Used at left-back and then midfield as key players were rested for the weekend. Let off one shot from the left.
Roberto Firmino (on for Jota, 65′) – 6
Had a promising looking shot blocked following a good burst forward to the edge of the area. Could have done with it going in.
Naby Keita (on for Robertson, 66′) – 6
A welcome return from injury. Back bouncing around the pitch and will hopefully doing so more regularly in the future.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Wijnaldum, 80) – N/A
Good to see the new signing’s name on the teamsheet again, getting the last 10 minutes at left-back.
Neco Williams (on for Alexander-Arnold, 80′) – N/A
A big moment as the 19-year-old made his Champions League debut.
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Matip, Cain, Minamino, Shaqiri, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Atalanta are the type of open, attacking team Liverpool like to play against, but they still needed to get the job done, and many would have fancied the Italians to trouble the Reds in Bergamo.
As it turned out, Liverpool hogged all the goals for themselves, scoring five and keeping a clean sheet – their third in a row in the Champions League.
Klopp’s decision to play Jota through the middle paid off, and he was able to use all five subs permitted to rest players in the second half with the game won.
Now has something to build on, and some decisions to make with his team selection, ahead of the trip to Man City on Sunday.