Diogo Jota stakes claim to starting spot with stunning hat-trick against Atalanta
He has now scored more goals for Liverpool in 2020 than Roberto Firmino
Liverpool cruised to a 5-0 victory over Atalanta in Bergamo on Tuesday evening, with new boy Diogo Jota scoring a stunning first half double before grabbing a third in the second half.
A counter-attack from a corner made far too easy by the home side's high line allowed Mo Salah to make it 3-0 shortly after the break, before a deft chip from Sadio Mané put the game beyond any remaining semblance of doubt before 50 minutes had been played.
But it was Jota who emerged from the game with the most credit. Signed from Wolves in the summer for £41 million, there were initially concerns about how much game time he would get, with Liverpool's front three of Mané, Firmino and Salah almost set in stone.
But Firmino will now be worried about the security of his position through the middle, with Jota already overtaking him in goals for the calendar year.
Firmino's form has been under scrutiny in recent months and this game will have done him no favours, with Jota showing that Liverpool's false nine can contribute with both link up play and goals to boot.
The Portuguese opened the scoring by shrugging off a challenge and a delicate chip with his weak foot over Atalanta keeper Marco Sportiello.
Diogo Jota making it like exceptionally easy pic.twitter.com/nmBdECAKfY
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) November 3, 2020
His second game from a floated pass across to the left, which he controlled on his left foot before unleashing a fierce near post strike to double Liverpool's lead.
BT Sport have unfortunately not tweeted a video of this goal, seek it out in the highlights.
His third again came down the left channel, as he got in behind the defence, dribbled round Sportiello and slotted the ball into an open net.
Jota has his hat-trick! 👏👏👏
Liverpool are on fire in Italy! pic.twitter.com/xMcYre5Ch7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 3, 2020
Jota was replaced after 65 minutes by Roberto Firmino, and with a crunch game against Manchester City on Sunday, he will have done his chances of starting no harm at all.