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Maribor 0 Liverpool 7: Salah and Firmino doubles inspire rampant Reds

17 October 2017 22:41

Liverpool delivered an attacking masterclass to thump Maribor 7-0 and breathe new life into their Champions League campaign.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were in mesmerising form and scored two goals apiece as the Reds banished memories of disappointing draws against Spartak Moscow and Sevilla in their opening two Group E games.

Firmino opened the scoring inside just four minutes before Philippe Coutinho and Salah put Jurgen Klopp's side out of sight before the 20th minute in Slovenia.

Salah scored a fourth from close-range before half-time, while Firmino grabbed his second shortly after the restart with a header.

Liverpool’s relentless approach tailed off as the second half wore on, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened his account for his new club having earlier missed a great chance, before Trent Alexander-Arnold finished off the scoring as the Reds recorded the biggest away win from an English club in Europe's premier competition.

The win is a big relief for Klopp, whose side had won just once in eight outings prior to this trip, and Maribor will have to improve dramatically if they are to avoid being on the end of an embarrassing scoreline on Merseyside in a fortnight's time.

Liverpool, captained by James Milner on his third start of the season, made a dream start as Firmino scored his second Champions League goal of the season with their first attack.

Salah pounced on an error from Marko Suler to break into the penalty area and tee up the Brazilian to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Milner then saw a curling effort from the edge of the box easily gathered by Jasmin Handanovic, but they carved their opponents open with alarming ease and had a second after 13 minutes.

Salah fed Milner inside the area and his pull back was scuffed past Handanovic on the half-volley by Coutinho from 15 yards for his fourth consecutive away goal for the Reds.

Firmino and Alberto Moreno then squandered excellent chances, but it was 3-0 inside 20 minutes through the irrepressible Salah.

This time, Firmino was the provider, feeding an incisive pass through a static Maribor defence and the Egyptian coolly slotted past a woefully exposed Handanovic.

There was no let up and Salah had his second six minutes before the break, the winger edging ahead of Firmino to tap Moreno's cross into the empty net from close range.

Any doubts that Liverpool would sit on their lead were banished nine minutes into the second period as Firmino grabbed his second, the former Hoffenheim forward rising highest to flick Coutinho's teasing free-kick into the far corner. 

Moments after his fierce drive was repelled by Handanovic, Oxlade-Chamberlain added a sixth when he broke past a dispirited home defence to slot past the Maribor goalkeeper in the 86th minute.

Alexander-Arnold got in on the act in stoppage time with a deflected shot to round off a memorable night for Klopp's side.

 

Key Opta stats:

- This win was the biggest margin of victory for an English club away from home in the European Cup/Champions League (seven goals); overtaking Lyn 0-6 Leeds United in October 1969 and Shamrock Rovers 0-6 Manchester United in September 1957.
- This is the biggest away win by an English club away from home in European competition since Arsenal defeated Standard Liège 7-0 in the Cup Winners’ Cup back in November 1993.
- This equaled the biggest margin of victory by an away team in the Champions League era – level with MSK Zilina 0-7 Marseille (Nov 2010) and BATE Borisov 0-7 Shakhtar Donetsk (Oct 2014).
- Liverpool became the first English club to score four-plus goals in the first half of a Champions League away game.
- Overall, this was the seventh occasion that an English club have scored four times in the first half of a Champions League match.
- Roberto Firmino's opening goal (3:14) was the earliest that Liverpool have scored in the Champions League since December 2007; Steven Gerrard's goal versus Marseille (3:12).
- Firmino and Mohamed Salah have both now been involved in 10 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season (both in 13 apps) – the most for the club.
- After failing to score in his first 15 Champions League appearances, Philippe Coutinho has now scored in his last two in a row.

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