Many were considering this as Liverpool’s biggest game so far of the campaign as the Reds needed to grab a result at Anfield against Spartak Moscow in order to qualify for the Round of 16 of the prestigious UEFA Champions League competition.
Spartak, on the other hand, had to win this game to qualify for the next round but the Reds were confident of a favorable outcome and keep up their scintillating run of form on Wednesday night as well. They failed to keep hold of a 3-0 lead against Sevilla in their previous Champions League outing but they were cautious this time around and grabbed an exquisite 7-0 win against the Russian champions.
Philippe Coutinho wore the captain’s armband tonight and handed his side an early lead by converting a spot-kick earned by Mohamed Salah. Liverpool’s ‘Fab four’ showed great chemistry among themselves and broke down the opponent’s defensive line on repeated occasions. It was Coutinho again who doubled the lead from Roberto Firmino’s pass. Firmino them picked up Sadio Mane’s delivery that fell favorably for the Brazilian coming off Serdar Tasci’s hand. He made no mistake and scored his side’s third within 18 minutes into the game. The Reds had a few more chances but failed to convert them. The major concern, however, was Alberto Moreno’s injury towards the end of the first-half who was forced to leave the pitch with an ankle injury. The first-half thus ended 3-0 in favor of the Reds.
Liverpool started the second-half quite similar to the first when substitute James Milner’s exquisite cross was spectacularly converted by Sadio Mane with a magnificent volleyed effort. Coutinho then completed his hat-trick as he picked up Milner’s pass and his shot took a wicked deflection off Spartak’s defender and ended up into the back of the net. The goal-fest continued as Mane scored his second after picking up substitute Daniel Sturridge low cross. Only Mohamed Salah’s name was missing from the scoresheet but the Egyptian finally had one when James Milner headed into the path of the Egyptian after picking up Emre Can’s lofted delivery and Salah toyed with the Spartak defence before firing it into the net.
The game ends 7-0 in favor of the hosts who finish as group leaders to enter the Round of 16.
Li verpoolOSpartalk MoscowLineupns:
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren (Trent Alexander-Arnold 60′), Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno (James Milner 45′), Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino (Daniel Sturridge 70′).
Spartak Moscow: Aleksandr Selikhov, Andrey Eshchenko, Serdar Tasci, Salvatore Bocchetti, Georgi Dzhikiya O(Mario Pasalic 59′), Fernando, Denis Glushakov, Roman Zobnin, Luiz Adriano, Quincy Promes (Aleksandr Samedov 74′), Ze Luis (Lorenzo Melgarejo 51′).
.Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Match Highlights:
Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow Match Stats:
|Shots (on Target)||17(10)||13(5)|