Full Time: Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow
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
Liverpool Player Ratings
Loris Karius – 7/10
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.
Joe Gomez – 7.5/10
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.
Dejan Lovren – 7/10
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.
Ragnar Klavan – 7.5/10
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.
Alberto Moreno – 6/10
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.
Emre Can- 7/10
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.
Georginio Wijnaldum- 7/10
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.
Philippe Coutinho- 9.5/10
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.
Mohamed Salah- 8.5/10
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!
Sadio Mane- 9/10
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.
Roberto Firmino- 8.5/10
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.
James Milner- 8/10
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.
Trent Alexander-Arnold- 7/10
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.
Daniel Sturridge- 6/10
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.
Jurgen Klopp dispels injury concern after surprise substitution against Southampton
Xherdan Shaqiri started for Liverpool in the clash against Southampton and was instrumental in our a 3-0 lead at half-time.
His shot was turned into the net by Wesley Hoedt for our first goal and his free-kick was slotted into an open net by Mohamed Salah for our third.
It was a little surprising that Jurgen Klopp decided to take the Swiss star off at half-time and replace him with James Milner.
Shaqiri was our most impressive attacker on Saturday as he played an advanced role behind our front three.
However, Milner came onto the pitch and we played with three central midfielders, something Klopp has used to great effect throughout his time at Liverpool.
The German spoke to the club’s official website as he explained he wanted more control in the game and that’s why he took Shaqiri off.
“I said to Shaq at half-time that I had never brought a player off after such an influential time without an injury. He is not injured. But I wanted to control the game and go back to our normal formation. And that helped, we really controlled it.”
The manager further added that it was not easy to make the change, given how influential Shaqiri was in the first half.
Klopp did explain the change to Shaq but playing the Swiss star had an impact on our defence and that was a problem for the manager.
“The only problem was defensively. Offensively, it was a good idea but, how I said, we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”
The 26-year-old had a fantastic game and it will be great to see him play more games if he can have the same sort of impact in the coming months.
Stats prove this Liverpool star is back to his best after win against Southampton
Mohamed Salah scored in the 3-0 win over Southampton but he could have gotten a few more too. The Egyptian was unlucky that a goal was called offside and also had a brilliant backheel just going wide of the post.
The former AS Roma forward hasn’t looked as sharp as he did last season but Sky Sports shared some stats that prove otherwise.
The forward is still some way off matching his 32 goals from last season in the Premier League but now, he has three to his name.
📈 THE SALAH STATS
Mohamed Salah ended his mini goal drought against Southampton and, despite suggestions he is short of form, the stats underline his continued threat for Liverpool: https://t.co/EvKOPzWxW5 | @p_smith86 pic.twitter.com/nqc1C4Nw1b
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 22, 2018
What will come as a major relief, however, is that the 25-year-old is getting into the right places to score. The forward was brilliant but that little bit of luck was missing when it came to his finishing.
He did score our third goal against the Saints as he reacted to Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick and that just proves he is hungry as ever to get on the scoresheet.
Fortunately for Liverpool, we have goals coming in from other positions too. Joel Matip got one yesterday, while we have also seen James Milner, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum score multiple times this season.
Liverpool and the Egyptian haven’t looked as sharp as they did last season but that is a good sign for the coming months.
The Reds are on top of the Premier League and once Salah starts banging the goals in, we should win games more comfortably.
Stat proves Liverpool have made Anfield a fortress as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0
Liverpool made it seven wins a row in all competitions on Saturday after beating Southampton 3-0. The Reds were barely troubled by the Saints as an own goal from Wesley Hoedt opened the scoring for us.
Joel Matip got the second before Mohamed Salah finished the scoring in the first half to keep us at the top of the Premier League.
The win saw us register our fourth clean sheet of the season but also brought up another stat regarding our domination of teams at Anfield.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 22, 2018
Liverpool didn’t lose a single Premier League game at home last season and have continued that form in this campaign too.
The only concern for us has to be the draws at Anfield. Last season, we dropped a number of points despite taking the lead in games.
Everton and Tottenham were a couple of teams that pulled off draws at our home but this season has a different feel for the Reds.
This is the first time we have won our opening seven games in the history of the club. And we should break a few more records along the way.
Our next clash is in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea at Anfield and it will be interesting to see how it goes against our title rivals.
We face the Blues next weekend in a huge Premier League clash as well and hopefully, the Reds will come up with all three points at Stamford Bridge and continue our march.
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