The Breakdown: Liverpool’s Player Ratings in Atalanta riot

Liverpool's Sadio Mane (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool's Sadio Mane (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

November 3, 2020, Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo, Italy | Liverpool had one of their best performances of the season as they defeated Atalanta 5-0 in the UEFA Champions League.

The onslaught began with two excellent goals from the in-form Diogo Jota in the first half, and a goal each from Salah and Mane shortly after the restart. Jota secured the headlines for himself by wrapping up a truly superb hat-trick as he ran on to a great through ball, rounded the stranded keeper, and tucked home his third.

Atalanta looked for a consolation goal only to be cruelly denied by the post and a well-positioned Alisson. They probably didn’t deserve to lose by five goals, but the Reds are great value for their performance.

Putting his Italian hoodoo to bed at last, Jurgen Klopp will be all smiles and hugs for his charges, even more than he usually is. Klopp’s Reds haven’t looked more like the team that dominated the English Top Flight last year at any other time this season.

He’ll be hoping this is a sign that their best form is still to come, not only in the Champions League but domestically as well. If that’s the case, look out Europe. Look out England. The Reds are coming for trophies!

Champions League Starting Lineups: 

LIVERPOOL Starting XI: Alisson (GK); Alexander-Arnold, R. Williams, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Jones; Mane, Jota, Salah

Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Minamino, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Origi, Matip, Cain, N. Williams

ATALANTA Starting XI:Sportello (GK), Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hoteboer, Mojica, Pasalic, Freuler; Gomez; Muriel, Zapata

Subs: Francesco Rossi, Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic, Aleksei Miranchuk, Pierluigi Gollini, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Sam Lammers, Matteo Pessina, Fabio Depaoli, Amad Diallo, Matteo Ruggeri, Giorgio Scalvini


Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 8; Took a risk electing Curtis Jones, but his decision to rest Firmino and start Jota as the central striker proved a masterstroke. He’ll be thrilled he was in a position to make all five subs and get his key players a little extra rest ahead of the colossal clash with Manchester City this weekend.

GK: Alisson: 7; Made all the interventions asked of him, including a great save from close range to preserve the clean sheet. Likewise, he was his usual tidy self when distributing the ball and using his feet. He was very fortunate that Zapata’s shot came back off the post and stayed out. He was completely powerless to stop that effort. He’ll be chuffed to keep another clean sheet in the Champions League, and he’ll be looking to repeat the feat this weekend.

RB: Alexander-Arnold: 8; Substituted in 80th minute, typically terrific going forward. His range of passing makes him such a threat from just about anywhere on the pitch. Delivered sumptuous ball after sumptuous ball for teammates to attack. Got himself a good assist for Jota’s first, while being sturdy and assured in defense.

CB: R. Williams: 7; Didn’t really put a foot wrong, the youngster. For a Champions League full debut against a team that scores goals, he’ll be thrilled with this performance. Atalanta are a team that rarely finishes a match with a zero by their name, so a clean sheet is an achievement for a tough away fixture and a 19-year-old CB.

CB: Gomez: 8; Seems to be relishing his role as the senior center back. He was excellent defensively, apart from going to the ground too easily when Zapata struck the post. He won his duels and passed the ball well (97.5% pass completion). He even got an assist to go along with his clean sheet.

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LB: Robertson 7; Substituted in the 66th minute, but he was due a rest after playing almost every minute of Liverpool’s last 8 matches. He was typically good going forward, and linking play with Mane on the left side. As always, he performed his defensive duties with aplomb. He’ll want that first-half shot back that he sent miles wide, however.

CM: Henderson: 8; Substituted in the 66th minute. A very good display from the captain on a night where his experience was needed to calm the inexperienced Williams. With Henderson playing the holding role and offering cover, Williams drew confidence from that security. The captain was also a force going forward playing three key passes.

CM: Wijnaldum: 6; Substituted in the 80th minute. Solid passing and kept possession, but rather lacking his usual influence. As always, he had great touches, but the yellow card in the first half for his second professional foul meant that he had to be cautious until his substitution.

CM: Jones: 8; He’ll be thrilled with that assist for Salah off the Atalanta corner shortly after the restart. Played very well making his second straight start, and did well to be involved throughout the match. Good defending in the middle of the park.

LW: Mane: 9; A terrific goal and assist on a night where Liverpool were absolutely devastating going forward. Looked much sharper in this match than he has in previous weeks: his touch was typically excellent and he took up great positions that caused Atalanta all kinds of problems. Mane was back to his world-class best.

CF: Jota 10; Man of the Match and hat-trick hero. Substituted for Firmino in the 65th minute, but he didn’t need any more time to make his mark on proceedings. His two first-half goals showed he possesses a world-class touch, and his third showed his excellent pace and composure. Six goals in his last 4 games mean he’s in the form of his life and he’ll be eager to keep his momentum ahead of Manchester City at the weekend.

RW: Salah: 9; Scored a terrific goal from an excellent counter. Salah was a constant menace on the left and really should have had a second. Also, for all those that say he’s selfish, he bagged a great assist for Mane and passed the ball equally as well.


CM: Keita: 6; Came on in the 65th minute. He’ll be happy to be back in the side and playing after his positive Covid-19 test weeks ago. His performance was solid but nothing to write home about.

LB/CM: Milner: 6; Came on in the 65th minute. Demonstrated his versatility by playing both left-back and central midfield. The vice-captain didn’t put a foot wrong and had a good opportunity to create a goal that was deflected late in the game.

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CF: Firmino: 6; Came on in the 65th minute. Did well to keep possession when asked to and looked like he had a point to prove going into the weekend against Manchester City. He’ll be eager to keep his place in the side, but Jota’s performance may mean he starts on the bench.

LB: Tsimikas: N/A; Came on in the 80th minute.
RB:  N. Williams: N/A; Came on in the 80th minute.