Seventh heaven for irresistible Reds

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino opens the floodgates against Maribor with his fourth-minute strike. The Reds would add a further six goals.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino opens the floodgates against Maribor with his fourth-minute strike. The Reds would add a further six goals.PHOTO: REUTERS

Liverpool claim biggest away win by English side, leapfrog rivals to lead on goal difference

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have been breathtaking and infuriating in equal measure this season, but it all came together on Tuesday as they displayed their devastating attacking prowess in a 7-0 victory against Maribor.

As has been the case too often this season, Liverpool's first two Champions League draws against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow were characterised by both defensive fragility and attacking frustration.

Yet from the moment Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the fourth minute against the Slovenian side, Liverpool cut through the hosts' defence with irrepressible vim and vigour and ended up recording the biggest away win by an English team in European Cup history.

"Our attitude was outstanding, we were spot on from the first second," Klopp told BT Sport. "We scored wonderful goals, played wonderful football and it looked like they were not very good, but it is difficult to play against us.

"I love the fact we stayed really concentrated in the second half, we controlled the game and it was a very mature performance.

"You can struggle in a game like this if you do not have a 100 per cent attitude... Seven goals was wonderful, but the counter-pressing I was close to celebrating it, it was so good. They are a really good football team and they could not cope with this."

The first half was only 19 minutes old by the time Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah added their names to the scoresheet - the latter then netting his second, and the team's fourth, in the 39th minute.

Salah was denied the chance to become the first Liverpool player to score an away hat-trick in Europe since Michael Owen against Spartak Moscow in 2002, departing just before the hour as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given the chance to stretch his legs.

By the time Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai blew the final whistle, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain and defender Trent Alexander-Arnold had scored second-half goals.

Such are Liverpool's attacking options at present, dynamic England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain has had to be content with a place on the bench since his arrival from Arsenal in August.

"We were very clinical and putting almost all of our chances away," the midfielder said.

"It feels like we have a lot of goals in us, we create a lot of chances.

"This is a competitive team, we have had a few results that have not gone our way.

"Everyone's fighting for their place and I'm just ready for when I get the opportunity.

"I need to keep developing and learning a new style of play here and get used to that and then whenever I get my opportunities, try to do as well as I can."

With five points, Liverpool - who welcome Maribor to Anfield next month - lead Group E on goal difference from Spartak Moscow, while Sevilla are one point further adrift in third.

Klopp will accept the trick is to repeat the performance against more competitive rivals, yet he will doubtless consider the confidence from this victory as crucial to their prospects, starting at Wembley on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2017, with the headline 'Seventh heaven for irresistible Reds'. Print Edition | Subscribe