Jota scores hat-trick as Liverpool beat Atalanta

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Jota scores hat-trick as Liverpool beat Atalanta

Striker Diogo Jota netted his first hat-trick for Liverpool as they thrashed Atalanta 5-0 on Tuesday in a blistering performance to go five points clear at the top of Champions League Group D after three straight wins. Jota's treble continued his scintillating start to his Liverpool career while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also got on the scoresheet in a superb display from Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions. "I don't think anyone could've defended against Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Diogo Jota so it wasn't about the tactics or our system it was about the team," Klopp said after the match. Jota wasted an early chance before giving his side the lead in the 16th minute, latching on to a pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold and holding off Jose Luis Palomino before delicately flicking the ball past Marco Sportiello. The Portugal forward, who arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a reported fee of ВЈ41 million in September, made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute, controlling a raking pass from Joe Gomez with his left foot before firing home with his right. "I'm playing in the best team of my career so far. I don't know if it's the best moment of my career but obviously scoring goals is my way of playing football. I'm happy with this, a great win away in Champions League, a good moment and a good night," Jota said afterward. With the home side reeling, Salah scored a super solo goal two minutes into the second half, collecting a clearance from Andy Robertson and running from the halfway line before curling the ball in at the far post. Minutes later it was Mane's turn to make it 4-0 with a sublime chipped finish before Jota completed his hat-trick with another coolly-taken effort in the 55th for his seventh goal in his first 10 appearances for Liverpool. Atalanta's best chances on the night fell to Duvan Zapata, who clipped the underside of the crossbar with a superb curling strike. He twice tested Liverpool keeper Alisson with stinging shots and also had a stoppage-time effort ruled out for offside. Salah almost scored a sixth for Liverpool in the 83rd minute. Once again he ran half the length of the pitch after an Atalanta corner was cleared, but this time his shot was steered out for a corner by Sportiello. The victory puts Liverpool top of the group with nine points after three games, having conceded no goals. Ajax Amsterdam are second on four points and ahead of Atalanta on goal difference after a 2-1 win away to Danish side FC Midtjylland. Liverpool now turn their attention to the Premier League and their marquee weekend matchup against Manchester City ahead of the international break. "90% of my players have three games in the international break, my players are still on duty. After City this weekend it's only me who gets a week off. But we have to recover now and we will need it. Then we can see who is available and City are a different team so we have to make sure we're ready for that," Klopp added.