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Soccer-Jota nets hat-trick as superb Liverpool thrash Atalanta 5-0

BERGAMO, Italy, Nov 3 (Reuters) - 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 Juergen Klopp’s Premier League champions.

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 41 million pounds ($54 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.

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.

$1 = 0.7654 pounds Reporting by Philip O’Connor Editing by Toby Davis

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