Liverpool romped to the top of their Champions League with an emphatic 7-0 win over Maribor in Slovenia.
A night that started and ended with the ball in the back of Maribor’s net also ensured that it spent plenty of time there in between, as two goals apiece for Bobby Firmino and Mo Salah ignited the Reds.
Liverpool made three changes from the draw against United, with Karius back in in goal for Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold rotated in at right-back for Joe Gomez and James Milner given a rare start in midfield ahead of Jordan Henderson.
Things started well for Liverpool, as Salah leapt on a loose pass to break in behind Maribor’s defence and find Firmino in the six yard box, who did well to reach the ball from behind him and comfort it into an empty net.
And they got better, with the Reds 2-0 up inside fifteen minutes, as Coutinho started and completed a brilliant team move involving lovely passes from the Reds’ four best players, Coutinho himself, Firmino, Salah and then Milner, whose cross was beautifully stroked in by the Brazilian.
But this was a game won by intensity in the press, as Liverpool’s third goal demonstrated. Can won the ball high up the pitch, and one brilliant pass from Firmino freed Salah, whose deft finish put the result beyond doubt.
Salah could have had more goals to his name with a couple of decent efforts and one strike marginally disallowed before he just about added the Reds’ fourth. An incisive pass from Coutinho freed Moreno and his cross was turned in by both Firmino and Salah who were lingering. Salah claimed it and UEFA agreed.
— Georginio Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) October 17, 2017
Maribor had one decent headed chance to at least add a consolation, but the Reds showed no sign of slowing down, after half-time as Firmino went close, Wijnaldum missed a decent chance and Coutinho’s ranged free-kick was palmed away.
But moments afterwards, Coutinho had another free-kick and his whipped cross was deftly flicked in by Firmino.
From there, with Firmino and Salah rested and Sturridge and Oxlade-Chamberlain introduced, Liverpool slowed things down, but still had time to add more goals. Oxlade-Chamberlain had already been denied once before scoring a simple chance after being set away by excellent work from Sturridge, pouncing on another poor Maribor defensive pass as they wilted under the press.
And there was still time for Trent Alexander-Arnold to get in on the act, as his shot from range took a huge deflection off the woeful but unfortunate Suler and wrong-footed the goalkeeper. Trent’s goal, but a moment that summed up the respective teams on the night. Everything that could have gone wrong for Maribor did. And everything that could have gone right for Liverpool did.
This was a fantastic return to form that ensured Liverpool are top of Group E, as Sevilla lost 5-1 in Moscow. Two more wins at home should now be enough for the Reds to top the group, and that coupled with a draw in Seville would guarantee it. Roll on Spurs.
Front three on ?
Record away Champions League win ?
Klopp’s biggest Liverpool victory ✌️
Not a bad night’s work ?https://t.co/MnOey24e7u
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2017
Man of the Match: James Milner
Liverpool XI: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Wijnaldum, Milner, Coutinho, Firmino, Salah
Subs used: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Solanke