La Dea had lost 5-1 to Manchester City in the 2019/20 season, their debut campaign in the competition, before drawing 1-1 with Pep Guardiola’s side at the Stadio San Siro in the return fixture.
But Gian Piero Gasperini’s side never got going in Bergamo on Wednesday, despite a couple of early chances that fell Luis Muriel’s way and Jose Luis Palomino’s attempts at defending always suggested that real danger was looming on the night.
The Argentinian was tasked with patrolling Diogo Jota, and was only spared embarrassment early on as the Portuguese’s Liverpool teammates failed to pick up on the runs he was making.
He was found free of Palomino to open the scoring with a fine finish after just a quarter of an hour though. Facing up to Marco Sportiello, Jota delicately lifted a delightful dink over the Italian for the opener.
The second came from the same source and through another lapse in concentration from Atalanta’s No.6. A ball over the top from Joe Gomez found Jota and, after a fine first touch to come back inside, he fired into Sportiello’s bottom corner.
Mohamed Salah got their third within two minutes of the restart. A counterattack from an Atalanta corner set the Egyptian in on goal and he made no mistake in converting. Sadio Mane got a fourth by chipping the oncoming Sportiello less than two minutes later.
An eight-minute blitz was rounded off five minutes after that, when Jota again lost Palomino on another break. Beyond the defence, the forward rounded Sportiello, who had ventured into no man’s land, and tapped into an open goal.
Duvan Zapata, who had been the hosts’ best player, came within an inch of a consolation. Cutting onto his right foot, he smashed a shot that had Alisson beaten, only to bounce off the inside of the post and back across goal, somehow not hitting the other to go in.