Jamie Carragher feels Liverpool were ‘at their best’ in their emphatic 5-0 victory over Atalanta and believes Jurgen Klopp has a ‘flying machine’ on his hands in Diogo Jota, who scored a brilliant hat-trick in the Champions League clash.
Goals from Jota (3), Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane ensured Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent record in Europe’s premier competition this season against a dangerous Atalanta side.
The Merseyside giants have now won their last five matches in all competitions and £41million summer arrival Jota has been at the heart of the side’s recent success.
The Portugal forward has netted seven times in his opening 10 appearances for Liverpool and last night became only the second player to score in his first two Champions League starts for the club after Robbie Keane back in 2008.
Reacting to the performance, Liverpool legend Carragher told CBS Sports: ‘Normally what happens with Atalanta is they take the opposition apart and the opposition take them apart and the games are just mad, crazy basketball games, high scoring games, possibly the most entertaining team you can watch in the Champions League in some ways.
‘And that was the big thing for Liverpool tonight, I thought it would be very difficult to keep a clean sheet and maybe even keep Atalanta down to two goals and think you’ll get chances yourself at the other end.
‘But Liverpool were very clinical, had big chances and that’s Liverpool at their best. Liverpool will always exploit teams who want to play football from the back because they press as good as any team in the Champions League and also teams that put lots of bodies forward.
‘And when there’s transitions, you see with pace they have in the attack. It’s normally just Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but, in terms of Diogo Jota, they’ve got another flying machine so that’s what it was all about tonight.’
Carragher believes Liverpool tend to struggle against more ‘direct’ teams that focus on set-pieces, particularly without Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence.
‘There was a big worry when Virgil van Dijk was out of the team or will be for a long time, how Liverpool would react,’ the ex-Liverpool and England defender added.
‘I don’t think it’s in these types of games where Liverpool will struggle defensively as such. I think they’ll miss Van Dijk more against teams who go direct, who are big on set-pieces.
‘You don’t normally get that as much in the Champions League, it’s more the bottom half of the Premier League so Sheffield United gave Liverpool problems, West Ham at times at the weekend and, before that, you had the Aston Villa game even though Van Dijk was playing as they were a team that went very direct.
‘That will be something to look at from a Liverpool perspective when they come up against those type of teams again.’
Liverpool must now prepare for two huge Premier League encounters with Manchester City and Leicester either side of the international break.
The Reds then welcome Atalanta to Anfield on November 25 in the reverse fixture of last night’s Group D match.
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