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red rout 'My boys played an incredible game' - Jurgen Klopp makes bold claim after stunning Atalanta win


Hat-trick hero Diogo Jota. Photo: Getty Images

Hat-trick hero Diogo Jota. Photo: Getty Images

Hat-trick hero Diogo Jota. Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed his revamped front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and hat-trick hero Diogo Jota were impossible to stop as they romped to a 5-0 win against Atalanta in Italy.

Jota justified his selection ahead of Roberto Firmino as he scored only the fourth hat-trick by a Liverpool player in a Champions League game away from home, with Salah and Mane also getting on the score sheet.

Only Michael Owen (twice) and Mane have scored three goals in a Champions League away game for Liverpool and Klopp could not contain his delight after a complete performance.

"That was a performance we needed tonight," declared the Liverpool boss. "My boys played an incredible game, the front line defending and attacking was outstanding. Midfield organisation, desire, readiness.

"Top level, last line pushing up and knowing the threat Atalanta can cause. You win a game 5-0, you could score more goals but our goalie had to still make three world-class saves. Overall a really good game.

"It's about the players, it was difficult against us tonight, 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.

"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."

When asked whether Jota's display means he has a selection dilemma ahead of the game against Manchester City on Sunday, Klopp seemed happy with his problem.


Sadio Mane fires home Liverpool’s fourth goal against Atalanta last night. Photo: Reuters

Sadio Mane fires home Liverpool’s fourth goal against Atalanta last night. Photo: Reuters

Sadio Mane fires home Liverpool’s fourth goal against Atalanta last night. Photo: Reuters

"Good performances never give me a headache," he added. "For tonight that was the decision, it was clear it makes sense for tonight, first of all to use the good shape Diogo is in.

"And because of the way Atalanta plays and defends, it made sense that the skillset of Diogo helps. But the world is sometimes a really bad place that in the moment when somebody is shining, we speak immediately about another player who played for us, it feels like, 500 games in a row.

"We would not be in the Champions League even if Bobby Firmino would not be with us and immediately I have to explain why he is not in the team.

"For us, it's important that we have more than 11 and tonight Diogo used his shape in an incredible way and played a super, super game. But that says nothing about Bobby and has nothing to do with me causing headaches. I'm more than happy that the boys played like they played tonight."

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Jota took his tally to six goals in 10 days with a Champions League hat-trick as Liverpool hammered Atalanta 5-0 to put themselves within touching distance of the knockout stages already.

He is only the second man to find the net in his first two Champions League appearances for the club, after Robbie Keane in 2008, and he was beaming with delight as he gave his post-match verdict.

"I’m playing in the best team of my career so far," Jota told BT Sport. "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.

"The first goal was my favourite because it unlocks the game – for all teams it’s important to get the first goal in each game. We scored early so that’s a good moment for me and the team and then we can manage the game our way."

Liverpool now head into Sunday's crunch Premier League clash with Manchester City in bouyant mood, with City boss Pep Guardiola turning his attentions to that game after his side's 3-0 win against Olympiacos at the Etihad Stadium.

"We have five days to recover for Liverpool and then the international break," stated Guardiola.

"The forecast in the next three days says it will be sunny in Manchester. It's rare. We're going to have tomorrow off. After that on Friday and Saturday we'll prepare for the Liverpool game. But the players need a break now."

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