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Champions League soccer: Diogo Jota hat trick leads Liverpool over Atalanta

Liverpool's Diogo Jota scored twice in the first half and once in the second half of a win over Atalanta on Tuesday in Bergamo, Italy. Photo by Paolo Magni/EPA-EFE
Liverpool's Diogo Jota scored twice in the first half and once in the second half of a win over Atalanta on Tuesday in Bergamo, Italy. Photo by Paolo Magni/EPA-EFE

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Diogo Jota netted his first hat trick for Liverpool and Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane each had second-half scores in a dominant 5-0 shutout of Atalanta in the group stage of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League.

Jota scored in the 16th, 33rd and 54th minutes of the victory on Tuesday at Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo, Italy. The Reds now have three wins to lead Group D over second-place Ajax, third-place Atalanta and last-place Midtjylland.

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"I'm playing on the best team in my career so far, that's for sure," Jota told BT Sport. "I don't know if it was my best moment, but obviously scoring goals is my way of playing football so I'm really happy with this and the result, of course.

"It was a great [road] win in the Champions League."

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Reds right back Trent Alexander-Arnold sent a precise through ball into the box to spark the game's first scoring sequence. The feed curved around the defense and went ahead for Jota, who caught up to the pass before he chipped a shot over Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello and into the net.

Jota doubled the lead about 17 minutes later. Liverpool fullback Joe Gomez lifted a long pass toward the left corner flag on that play.

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Jota used his left boot to bring the ball down in the box before he used his right foot to slam a shot into the near-post netting for a 2-0 lead.

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Liverpool held that lead through halftime before Salah found the net in the 47th minute. Reds midfielder Curtis Jones captured the ball just outside the Liverpool box before he looked up and spotted Salah as he sprinted toward midfielder during that sequence.

Jones then ripped a feed ahead for Salah, who raced past defenders for a breakaway. Salah raced from left to right before he cut his dribble back left. He then curled a shot into the upper left corner of the net for the Reds' third score.

Salah went on to assist Mane's score about two minutes later. The Liverpool striker sent a pass into the left side of the box during that play. Mane then used his left foot to chip Sportiello and find the net in the 49th minute.

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Mane then assist Jota's third goal in the 54th minute. The Reds striker started a slow dribble up the left flank before Jota sprinted ahead of two defenders for a run toward the goal.

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Mane then sliced a pass ahead for Jota, who tapped his first touch around Sportiello before he used his second touch to shoot into the empty Atalanta net.

The Reds battle Manchester City in Premier League play at 11:30 a.m. EST on Sunday in Manchester, England. They face Atalanta in another Champions League match at 3 p.m. EST on Nov. 25 in Liverpool, England.

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