Last Updated: 06/12/17 10:36pm
Philippe Coutinho netted a hat-trick for Liverpool
Liverpool’s front four put on an attacking masterclass as they thrashed Spartak Moscow 7-0 at Anfield to finish top of Group E in the Champions League.
On a night of devastating attacking play, Philippe Coutinho netted a hat-trick (4, 15, 50), Saido Mane scored twice (47, 76) while Roberto Firmino (19) and Mohamed Salah (86) grabbed one goal each.
The result ensured Jurgen Klopp’s men reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2008/09. The draw for the last 16 takes place on Monday.
Liverpool have now scored 32 goals in a nine-match unbeaten run since losing to Tottenham in late October and next host rivals Everton and their new manager Sam Allardyce on Derby Day on Nissan Super Sunday.
Liverpool vs Everton
December 10, 2017, 2:00pm
With Jordan Henderson benched, Coutinho was handed the captaincy and relished the added responsibility.
After Salah was bundled over in the box on four minutes, Coutinho stepped up and rolled home the penalty for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Liverpool: Karius (6), Gomez (7), Lovren (7), Klavan (8), Moreno (7), Can (7), Wijnaldum (7), Coutinho (9), Salah (8), Mane (8), Firmino (8)
Subs: Alexander-Arnold (7), Milner (8), Sturridge (7)
Spartak Moscow: Selikhov (4), Eschenko (4), Bocchetti (4), Tasci (3), Dzhikiya (2), Zobnin (4), Fernando (5), Glushakov (5), Promes (6), Ze Luis (4), Luis Adriano (6)
Subs: Pasalic (5), Samedov (5)
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho
His eighth would follow seven minutes later when he finished off a flowing attacking move that involved Mane, Salah and Firmino.
Although Spartak did try to pin Liverpool back, they left spaces in behind and were punished again this time by Firmino, who slammed home from close range after some suspect defending.
After the break, Mane’s acrobatic volley extended the hosts’ advantage before Coutinho secured his hat-trick with a deflected effort.
Jurgen Klopp made five changes from the win at Brighton. In came Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno and Sadio Mane. There was no place for either Jordan Henderson or Simon Mignolet in the starting XI.
Substitute Daniel Sturridge missed from close range before Mane added a sixth and Salah took the Reds’ goal tally for this Champions League campaign to 23 with a clever finish – the haul the most ever by a British team in a Champions League group stage.
Finishing as Group E winners means the Reds avoid the likes of PSG, Barcelona and Roma, but Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus could be potential last-16 opponents.
Roberto Firmino celebrates his goal with fellow scorer Sadio Mane
Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho
A night many home fans will remember, especially for Coutinho’s imperious showing. Playing deeper behind Salah, Mane and Firmino, he scored his first ever hat-trick for Liverpool in a performance that was close to perfection. He set the tempo for their attacks and was ruthlessly clinical in front of goal. Everton beware.
- The Reds are now unbeaten in their last eight Champions League games, winning three and drawing five.
- Firmino has scored six goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single group stage campaign in the competition.
- Salah has scored more goals in all competitions this season than any other Premier League player (18).
Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool’s seventh at Anfield
Klopp’s team host rivals Everton on a scintillating Super Sunday Derby Day, where Manchester United and Manchester City also face off.