For Liverpool, this time there was never any danger that a 3-0 half-time lead could be surrendered. The Reds assured their place in the knockout phases of the Champions League – the 5th English club to do so this season and Jurgen Klopp’s men had a merry time, scoring 7 goals past Spartak Moscow defence.
Philippe Coutinho was made the captain of the night and he delivered big-time, inspiring the team with a hat-trick. Liverpool put the game to bed in the first-half when they scored three times inside the opening 19 minutes.
By the 86th minute when Mohamed Salah added his name to an extensive score-sheet, Sadio Mane had scored twice and Roberto Firmino had added one in the first-half.
The only silver lining in this majestic Liverpool performance was the injury to left-back Alberto Moreno in the first-half. Other than that, it was a one-sided affair at Anfield which Klopp will be proud of, as the Reds entered the Last 16 as group winners.
Let’s take a look at how the Liverpool players fared in the 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow
Karius started ahead of regular goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and it was a very easy night for him. He got down well to make a solid save early on, but rushed off his line at one point and clattered into Joe Gomez later. Luckily, that didn’t cost Liverpool anything. Other than that, a clean game.
Replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold at the right-back, and it was another flawless defensive performance by the young England international. Looked powerful and resolute, surged up and down the right flank with ease.
The Croatian has improved a lot since his forgettable October, and he will be happy with his performance. Lovren won the aerial battles, looked assured in defence before he got substituted for Alexander-Arnold on the hour mark.
Klavan returned to the team after missing Saturday’s 5-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Apart from making the terrific block shortly before half-time, the Estonia defender had a decent game. Being a left-footed player, he brings a certain balance to the team.
Moreno was impressive on the left, continuously giving the Spartak defence a torrid time with his overlapping runs. His night ended cruelly in the first-half.
Can was preferred to skipper Jordan Henderson in the deep-lying midfield role and he did well. Apart from the early nervy moments, the German was a dominant figure at Anfield.
Made a stupid challenge on Ze Luis, which brought him a yellow card and that sees him out of the first-leg of Liverpool’s next Champions League assignment.
Wijnaldum was an industrious presence in the heart of midfield. Retrieved the balls well, sprayed passes sensibly and joined the attack time and again. A solid showing from the Dutchman.
What a decision it turned out to be for Klopp, who decided to make Coutinho the skipper! Our captain on the night did everything right to earn the match ball. He opened the scoring from the spot, scored the second with his left-foot and saw a third goal take a deflection and go in.
Three words for the Brazilian – Magical, Mercurial and Marvellous.
Yet again, Salah terrified the opposition defence with his crazy pace and won the penalty for our opening goal. He played a key part in Coutinho’s second and got his 18th goal of the season, in the 84th minute of the game.
What a signing he is turning out to be for us!
A fantastic night for the Senegalese attacker, who looked unstoppable all night with his speed and movement. Set up the third goal for Firmino and after half-time, he scored two goals to kill the game off.
This was another superb showing from Firmino, who displayed his brilliance by leading the line in his very own way. He laid the ball for Coutinho, scored his 13th goal of the campaign with a nice finish, and was a threat to the Russians, throughout the game.
Got a well-deserved standing ovation when he was substituted.
A replacement for Moreno; took all of two minutes in the second-half to send a cross, which Mane fired home. Set up Coutinho for his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick and provided the assist for Salah’s goal. A proper ‘Milneresque’ performance.
The teenager came in for Lovren and was a lively presence at right-back. Teed up Sturridge late on but the striker failed to score.
Set up Mane for the team’s 6th goal. He could have scored one but he blazed his effort over from six yards out. A rusty 20 minutes for the English striker.