Liverpool continued their impressive form in this season’s Champions League with a flawless performance in Bergamo on Tuesday evening.
Diogo Jota was the clear stand out for the Reds as he scored his first hat-trick in the famous red shirt. However, every player who took to the field was outstanding, contributing something major to the overall team display.
This was easily the best performance of the season from Klopp’s side who looked fluid, sharp and decisive, taking advantage of every weakness on show from there Italian opponents. It was thought this would be the most challenging game Liverpool would face during the group stage, but proved to be anything but this.
Klopp made two changes from the side who defeated West Ham United 2-1 on Saturday evening. Rhys Williams came in for Nathaniel Phillips for his first Champions League start, whilst Diogo Jota started in the place of Roberto Firmino.
Here are our winners and losers from the game.
Diogo JotaEmbed from Getty Images
The Portuguese superstar is in the form of his life. Everything he has touched since arriving at Anfield has turned to gold and he has quickly established himself as a fans favourite. His performance against Atalanta was dynamic and ruthless, leaving the Italians chasing shadows for much of the evening.
The attributes he displayed during the game where very reminiscent of former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. The way he went about his work and took his three goals sparked this comparison from fans and I have to agree with them. The pace and power he showed was something that the crowds at Anfield had seen closely before and are clearly extremely happy to see them again.
His first goal was the main reason for this contrast between the two. After finding space on the right-hand side, Alexander-Arnold whipped a ball firmly into the goal bound Jota. Using his body to hold off the challenging defender, he composed himself and gently lifted the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper to give the Reds a deserved lead.
His second strike was the pick of the bunch. After a long diagonal ball from Joe Gomez, the winger brought the ball down wonderfully before rocketing it past the hapless Sportiello. This goal proved decisive in the game, as from this position of strength Liverpool relaxed even more and truly took complete control of the fixture.
His final finish exuded confidence and showed the positive mindset the winger currently finds himself in. After a sumptuous through ball from Sadio Mané, the calm and composed 23-year-old proceeded to ball roll past the desperate dive of Sportiello and calmly finish into the empty net.
It was the complete performance from the forward who has now scored six goals in four games. Jürgen Klopp will be over the moon with the impact he has made and now has a legitimate fourth threat that could easily start week in week out.
The original price tag will have lifted a few eyebrows, but since his introduction he has far exceeded everyone’s expectations. His performances have seen him leapfrog Roberto Firmino in the pecking order and he will likely start in the crunch clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
Rhys WilliamsEmbed from Getty Images
Since stepping up to the senior side this lad has not put a single foot wrong. He has looked sharp and composed with the ball at his feet, slotting in perfectly alongside Joe Gomez in his last two appearances. On a night where it could have been a difficult for the 19-year-old, considering it was his first start in the Champiosn League, proved to be straight forward occasion.
This was down to the way the Reds dominated possession and how Williams dealt with the dangerous Duván Zapata. Many saw this as the key battle on the night and whether the youngster would be able to deal with the powerful threat that he posed. Every question that the Columbian international asked of the youngster was met by a firm tackle and Liverpool regaining possession.
It wasn’t even a contest between the Atalanta strike force and the backline of the Reds. Joe Gomez was excellent again, communicating with the teenager all night, whilst winning his own battle with Luis Muriel, who was subsequently taken off after 55 minutes having done nothing. However, it was Williams who stood out from the pair, considering his clear lack of experience at this level.
The England u21 international has thoroughly impressed this season and has firmly pushed his name into the first team picture. His performance follows the excellent display of Phillips from Saturday, which now gives Klopp a plethora options moving forwards. With Matip returning from injury, Liverpool’s defensive options are starting to look rosy again.
AlissonEmbed from Getty Images
Considering the Reds dominated all evening, it feels strange to put the Brazilian in the winner’s column, but this result was convincing because of the contribution he made during the night. Once again, he proved why he is regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world.
He was called upon on only a handful of occasions but these proved decisive. The pick of the saves was in the last ten minutes, with Zapata bearing down on goal his ferocious shot was met by the iron wrists of Alisson who parried the ball wide and clear of the Reds net.
It was another safe and solid display from the undisputed number one who, with van Dijk out long-term, has taken on even more responsibility this season. This has not been a problem thus far as his performances have continued to be world class. If the Reds are going to win anything this season, a lot will lie at the hands and feet of the former Roma man.
LosersEmbed from Getty Images
Every single player sparkled in Bergamo, each putting in a serious performance of note. I could have easily selected 11 winners tonight. Therefore, there are no losers.
This team display eased worries about any defensive problems the team had, whilst Liverpool’s new potent four-man rotating strike force will scare any defence. No team in Europe will want to face this Reds team anytime soon.
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