Liverpool have done it again. It’s terribly cringe-worthy to say any team has ‘won the transfer window’, given it’d be the most grotesque competition in history.
But the Reds have once again shown their awareness and knowhow in the market, selling off a load of young, marketable assets, while recruiting with care and attention in the areas which most notably needed addressing.
One of those focal points was a backup forward, who could step in as a replacement for the usual suspects in the attacking trio, and do an adequate job across the front line with minimal fuss and maximum quality. Enter, Diogo Jota.
The Portuguese star has begun to win more and more opportunities to impress Jurgen Klopp in recent weeks, and having scored against Arsenal, FC Midtjylland and West Ham, he was rewarded with another outing against Italian fun-club Atalanta.
It was Jota having all the fun, however, as he became only the fifth Liverpool star to bag a Champions League hat-trick, scoring a treble in their 5-0 hammering of the Goddess. But who were the other four? I hear you ask, and which hat-trick was the most aesthetically pleasing?
Settle in everyone, we’ve got them here for you – ranked.
Not a pretty treble, but will the man who repeatedly buried finishes beyond a 13-year-old goalkeeper care? You bet your life he won’t! In fairness, Michael Owen’s first goal was a decent glancing header towards the far post, but from that moment on, it’s scrappy central.
The pacy striker was on hand to tap home from close range following some pinball in the box for the second, and a wonderful slotted pass across the box allowed Owen to cap off the scoring in a 3-1 victory over Spartak Moscow.
Hat-Trick Rating: Good header, messy, tap-in.
Captain for the evening Philippe Coutinho delivered a wonderful display also against Spartak Moscow during a 7-0 battering back in 2017.
The Brazilian star got the ball rolling with a cool penalty, and then rounded off a lovely flowing move with a calm finish back across the goalkeeper.
The now Barcelona man bagged his third in the second half, ghosting into the penalty area, and firing an effort towards goal which took a cruel deflection, before beating the helpless shot-stopper. Never broke a sweat doing it, either.
Hat-Trick Rating: Penalty, tap-in, deflection.
Equally as opportunistic, but the first goal just about puts Benayoun ahead of Owen and Coutinho. He opened his account with a wonderfully rifled finish, cushioning down a delightful floated ball from… Andriy Voronin?! Ah, the good old days.
The Israeli star added to his initial strike with two tap-ins following saves from the goalkeeper, showing some killer instinct to be in the right place at the right time. Liverpool won 8-0 by the way… with Voronin. Mad.
Hat-Trick Rating: Nice finish, tap-in, tap-in
Sadio Mane was the latest Red to add his name to this prestigious list before Jota on Tuesday night, when he put three past Porto in 2018.
He earned a slice of fortune with the opening goal, as his strike from the edge of the box somehow squeezed through the Porto goalkeeper and trickled over the line.
The Senegalese superman was on hand to stroke home his second too, when Roberto Firmino’s original effort was smartly saved. And he wrapped up his heroics with a blistering drive from distance, picking the ball up, dribbling towards goal and unleashing a hammer-blow from his right foot, which fizzed into the net. Stunning.
Hat-Trick Rating: Cheers keeper, tap-in, screamer.
The stand-out hat-trick of the lot. Jota, up against much sterner opposition than his fellow treble successors, notched his first by expertly nipping in behind the defence, holding off his man and dinking the ball beautifully into the net.
But his second was even better. Receiving a high ball on the left-side of the penalty area, the Portuguese star brought it down cleverly, nipped inside and drove his strike fiercely into the near post. Unstoppable. The final blow was dealt in the second half, when he pipped Marco Sportiello to the ball, took it round the man between the sticks and rolled it home. Composed.
Hat-Trick Rating: Dink, smash, class