Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow
PHILIPPE COUTINHO showed just why he is so valuable to Liverpool as the Brazilian playmaker’s hat-trick led a Reds’ goal blitz at Anfield last night. Liverpool, who also hit seven past Maribor in October, blew Spartak away to qualify for the last 16 as Group E winners, setting a record in the process as the highest-scoring English team in Champions League group-stage history with 23 goals.
Coutinho, still linked with a move to Barcelona, was made captain for the night after Jordan Henderson was dropped to the bench by Jurgen Klopp. With Liverpool needing a point to reach the knockout stage, the skipper calmed any nerves when he fired home an early penalty after Mohamed Salah had been barged over.
Spartak, who had lost 22 of their previous 28 Champions League away games, were then carved open by a fine team move culminating with Coutinho slotting in a second. The shell-shocked Russians had barely regrouped before they were stung again, this time Roberto Firmino netting with less than 20 minutes gone.
Any signs that Liverpool may ease off after the break were quickly dispelled with Sadio Mane’s acrobatic volley bringing home fans to their feet.
Coutinho completed his treble with a deflected strike, Mane added the sixth and Salah made it a magnificent seven.
They said it…
‘I don’t mind too much who we get — usually I always get Real Madrid so we will see’ — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks forward to Monday’s Champions League draw
‘That’s why we train on the training ground, to create chances for each other. We created space for other players’ — Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum on the Reds’ huge win
■ LIVERPOOL have reported Spartak Moscow to Uefa after teenage striker Rhian Brewster was allegedly subjected to racist abuse by an opposition player.
England’s Under-19 World Cup winner (pictured) was visibly angry at the end of the Reds’ 2-0 Uefa Youth League win at Prenton Park and had to be restrained by team-mates and coaching staff at the final whistle.
Brewster told the referee about the incident in the closing stages of the match.
It is the second time this season Liverpool have made a complaint against the Russian club, who were found guilty after Bobby Adekanye was racially abused by fans during the game in Moscow in September.