Liverpool’s ruthless attacking streak continued with a dominant win over Spartak, which secured their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League by topping the group.
A huge 7-0 win at Anfield tops off a brilliant night for Klopp’s men.
With Jordan Henderson and James Milner both starting on the bench, Phil Coutinho captained the side in arguably Liverpool’s most important Champions League match in a decade.
The Brazilian rose to the challenge though by stepping up to take the early penalty en route to scoring his hat-trick.
Liverpool were awarded a surprising penalty just three minutes into the match, with Mo Salah colliding with a Spartak defender inside the area & going down.
The contact appeared fairly common and Salah wasn’t going to get on the end of the aerial ball regardless of the Spartak defenders presence; an odd but generous decision from the referee.
Klopp resorted to setting Liverpool up in the same formation that we first saw against West Ham a number of weeks ago, with Mo Salah operating as the team’s most advanced striker. Liverpool defended in a balanced 442 but attacked with pace and directness through their four most dangerous attackers.
In possession, Liverpool shift into a 4-2-2-2 variation and basically allow their front four to win the game, and that certainly worked here.
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Things weren’t all good for Liverpool, as Alberto Moreno hobbled off at the end of the first half with an apparent injury. The problem was caused when Moreno went half-hearted into a block/challenge and consequently appeared to hurt his ankle.
Moreno is now likely to miss the Merseyside Derby, which is particularly disappointing considering his form this season.
Despite playing well and having a solid degree of control in the match for large periods, Emre was booked in the first five minutes. The booking means he’ll now be unavailable for the first match of the knockouts, which is less than ideal.
Emre was booked for a foul that would go unpunished more often than not, especially considering it was so early in the game, but the referee deemed it to be a yellow card.