Rio Ferdinand hailed the impact of Diogo Jota on Liverpool's front three - and was proved right as the forward plundered a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Atalanta in the Champions League.

Jota's opener in Tuesday night's Group D clash meant he had scored in four consecutive games for Jurgen Klopp's side.

But he added another two, taking his tally since joining the Reds to seven goals in 10 appearances.

Jota was making only his fifth start on Tuesday since joining Liverpool for £40million in the summer transfer window, having also shown he can have an impact from the bench.

And Ferdinand said credit has to go to Klopp for achieving what many observers thought was a tall order - improving Liverpool's much feared attack without breaking the bank.

Diogo Jota completes his hat-trick to secure a 5-0 win for Liverpool

Speaking on BT Sport before Tuesday's game, Ferdinand said: "He affects the game. Comes on, starts, he will create some sort of opportunity.

"Klopp has to have huge credit because we talked about who could come in and affect that front three and add value. He wouldn't have been on anyone's list."

As Ferdinand suggests, the 23-year-old was something of a surprise signing when he joined from Wolves in September, with his former team-mate Adama Traore having been tipped as the one who might make the move from Molineux to Anfield.

Jota did score 16 goals in all competitions for Wolves last season, and has shown he can play across the front line or as an attacking midfielder.

Rio Ferdinand praised Jota on BT Sport before the Reds star scored a hat-trick

Asked whether Jota was better than he previously thought, Ferdinand said: "100 per cent."

Jota opened the scoring against Atalanta on Tuesday after latching onto a beautiful through-ball from right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

He doubled the lead after being set up by Joe Gomez, before goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with the latter turning provider for Jota to complete his hat-trick.

Jota scoring his second as Liverpool took control against Atalanta

Jota appeared to be clutching his leg as he left the field on 65 minutes to be replaced by Roberto Firmino - and with the form the forward is in, Klopp will hope it is nothing serious.

Liverpool have maximum points from their first three Champions League, having also beaten Ajax and Danish side Midtjylland.