Liverpool 7, Spartak Moscow 0
Delighted manager Jurgen Klopp toasted Liverpool’s return to the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2008-09 after they capped the group phase by routing Spartak Moscow.
Philippe Coutinho scored his first hat-trick for the club, Sadio Mane struck twice and Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah got one apiece as the Reds’ celebrated attacking quartet shredded the visitors.
Victory ensured that Liverpool finished top of Group E – meaning they avoid the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain next – and that five English clubs progressed to the last 16 for the first time.
“I usually get Real Madrid if it’s possible. We will see what happens this time but we have no preferred opponent,” said Klopp, who took Borussia Dortmund to the final in 2013.
“We are just happy that we go to the next round and we are still in the competition. When the next year starts it will be really nice. After a long time being back, showing Liverpool is here again – I love this kind of news.”
Liverpool’s second seven-goal win took their group stage tally to 23 – a record for an English team and the second highest by any club. Spartak, who needed a win to progress, drop into the Europa League.
Coutinho put the hosts ahead with a fourth-minute penalty and finished a sweeping move moments later. By 20 minutes Liverpool had scored three for the ninth time in 11 games, Firmino striking from close range with the outside of his boot.
Mane scored a thumping scissor volley seconds after half-time and Coutinho followed it by completing his hat-trick with a deflected shot. Mane flicked in Daniel Sturridge’s low centre for his second and Salah rifled high past Alexander Selikhov with five minutes remaining.
"I told the boys at half-time: ‘A lot of people in the stadium will think we have it already. We need to show that we have learned from our mistakes. So we have to keep going, play football again'," Klopp added.
"It’s really difficult when we go to the next gear, use the space and play this kind of football. It was nice to watch."
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