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.
(Video) Watch Alisson and Roberto Firmino provide hilarious responses in latest “Bezzies”
We had seen a similar video of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk a few weeks ago, and this one was just as brilliant between the Brazilians.
It started with Alisson answering about what Firmino would take along with him to an island, and the answer wasn’t really that surprising.
The forward answered his wife, which our keeper also guessed correctly. For Alisson’s options, the correct answer was barbecue, which Firmino got right too.
The pair were also asked what is their best body feature and which club they made their debuts for.
There were some great questions in between and Firmino confirmed that his favourite Brazilian player was Ronaldinho and not Ronaldo, while for Alisson it was goalkeeper Taffarel.
Our goalkeeper even predicted that Firmino would be a better keeper than his attacking partners Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The pair seem to be in great form and in spirits ahead of our crucial tie against Manchester United on Sunday.
Hopefully, we pull off a win and stay atop the Premier League table as the games keep coming thick and fast.
Liverpool interested in signing £70m-rated Bundesliga powerhouse
The 19-year-old has been on fire for the Bundesliga giants this season and has seven goals and five assists in all competitions.
The German also has a couple of international caps to his name and plays mostly as an attacking midfielder.
The report claims that Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona are all “actively” tracking the rising star.
Havertz is rated at £70m (h/t Mirror), and he is the next big thing coming out from the Bundesliga. The 19-year-old was phenomenal last season with three goals and eight assists in the Bundesliga and seems set to break that his record in this campaign.
Liverpool have dipped into the German market several times under Jurgen Klopp, and if anyone would have the inside scoop on the 19-year-old, it has to be our manager due to his spell in the Bundesliga.
The Reds could do with an attacking midfielder in the team as we don’t have someone who can do this role. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be the ideal player for the position but it is unlikely we will see him play any minutes this season due to his injury.
We lead the Premier League and made it into the knockout rounds of the Champions League, and with the right signings, there could be some silverware at Anfield this season.
“It is going to be difficult” – Liverpool star believes Manchester United will be tough opposition
Liverpool play Manchester United in the biggest fixture of the weekend, and the Reds have a sizeable lead over their rivals in the Premier League.
We are 16 points ahead of the Red Devils after just 16 games, and another win will keep us at the top of the table ahead of Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp has never defeated the Red Devils during his Premier League career, and Georginio Wijnaldum spoke about the tie.
The Dutch midfielder believed we would put up a quality performance, claiming United are a good team while having a bit of a dig claiming they go out not to lose games (h/t Mirror):
“It’s a nice game. We’ll try to put in the same performance that we did against Napoli.
“Things can happen, everyone can have a bad season, it does not mean they [United] are not a good team with good players. Last season, with the same players, they finished second.
“They have good players, a good manager, and they know how to manage games and win games – or not to lose games! It is going to be difficult.”
Jose Mourinho always seems to have a plan when playing against Liverpool, whether it was his Chelsea days or his United days.
We long for a win over the Red Devils, and with our team in great spirits, a win at Anfield could be on the books.
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