A scintillating display in Slovenia rewrites the record books for a previously stuttering Reds…
Liverpool’s prior record of one win in eight games in all competitions, which included successive draws in their opening two Champions League Group E outings, meant there was plenty of pressure, as well as expectation, on the Merseysiders heading into Tuesday night’s tie at group underdogs Maribor.
What followed was beyond even the most ardent Kopite’s wildest dreams as Jürgen Klopp‘s men tore up the record books during a thumping 7-0 victory in Slovenia.
The result represented the club’s biggest ever away win on the continent and equaled the biggest away win ever recorded by anyone in the Champions League era.
The victory, in which the visitors scored four first-half goals away from home in Europe for a first time, was also comfortably the biggest of Klopp’s tenure.
Roberto Firmino set the Reds on their way in the 4th minute with a close-range tap-in before Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah made it 3-0 inside 20 minutes.
Salah and Firmino were both on target again either side of half-time before further goals late on from double-barrel duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – his first for the club – and Trent Alexander-Arnold wrapped things up.
Admittedly the limited hosts were the architects of their own downfall at times but that shouldn’t detract from Klopp’s men, who produced some sublime football which far better teams would have failed to contain.
The German, speaking at his post-match press conference, pointed to having the correct attitude and executing tactically as being key components in the outcome.
“From the first second it was exactly what we wanted to do,” analysed the former Champions League finalist. “We wanted to show the best counter-pressing of the last few weeks because I really thought that protecting our offensive movements, patterns and all that stuff were already really good but we could have done even better in counter-pressing.
“Tonight we did much better and against a football-playing side like Maribor, it made a lot of sense. We scored the first goal from a pressing situation and a few other goals were after a counter-pressing situation, so it helped a lot.
“Then, how we finished these situations was also good. A lot this season already [we have been] alone in the box to make a cross or a pass, but were not relaxed enough to play the right pass. Tonight it was different.
“Always when we let them play, they played immediately and were around our 18-yard box and that only showed how good they could be. But we never gave up in this game, especially in the second half.
“It was good – all-round a really, really good performance otherwise you cannot win 7-0 – so we are really happy about that.”
A surprise 5-1 win for Spartak Moscow against Sevilla in the other Group E fixture means Liverpool now top the standings on goal difference from Spartak with Sevilla a point further adrift.
It leaves proceedings well poised at the halfway stage with Klopp’s men welcoming Maribor to Anfield next up.
Before then there is the small matter of two important Premier League fixtures to complete – away to Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday and home to Huddersfield next Saturday.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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