MARIBOR 0-LIVERPOOL 7: REDS DAMAGE MARIBOR AWAY FROM HOME
On a night of one-way traffic, Liverpool had no problems picking 7 goals on the road last night in Slovenia. They may have looked momentarily unrecognizable in their away strips of Orange but there was no stopping them as they hit their hosts for 7 in their match day 3 fixture
It was only the team’s second win in nine games but Maribor will be Liverpool’s next European opponents at Anfield on November 1, meaning Klopp’s team will surely qualify for the knockout stages despite this being their first group victory.
It was exactly two years to the day since Klopp took charge of a Liverpool game for the first time, a goalless draw at Tottenham. This mismatch could not have been more different.
Maribor are known as the Purple Warriors but they were kicked to the floor in a brutal first half and to be 3-0 down at this level after just 19 minutes is embarrassing.
Former Leeds boss Darko Milanic, who lasted just 32 days at Elland Road in 2014, did not look particularly impressed in the home technical area and little wonder.
Frustrated with the 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Saturday, Klopp’s side should at least get some confidence from this win although Spurs will be far tougher on Sunday.
Liverpool call their new third away kid ‘bold citrus’ in, apparently, homage to the original wooden signage of the Kop and they should maybe keep it for the weekend trip to Wembley.
Despite it being such a straight-forward evening in north-east Slovenia, games like this can only benefit a team.
Not only for players like Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah who both scored a couple, with Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold grabbing the others – but also the likes of James Milner.
Klopp was annoyed Jordan Henderson played for England against Lithuania with the team having already qualified.
That did not stop Klopp giving Henderson a full 90 minutes against Manchester United on Saturday but he started on the bench here, with Milner getting his fourth start in what has been a frustrating season.
Liverpool took a little over three minutes to score. Salah had too much power, determination and skill for both left-back Mitja Milec and covering centre back Marko Suler. his cross made it impossible for Firmino not to score and from just a few yards out for his fifth goal of the season, but first strike in seven matches.
The second goal was excellent and will have delighted Klopp, Milner crossed from the right for Coutinho who, on the edge of the area, took the ball on the bounce and flicked his effort into the corner.
You could have forgiven Maribor’s fans for heading home at the break but they still provided a noisy backdrop to one of the easiest games for Klopp since he took over in 2015.
Firmino got on the end of a Coutinho free-kick to head a fifth goal.
But the visitors kept on going and Oxlade-Chamberlain will have been delighted to bag his first Liverpool goal and ease the pressure following his £35million move from Arsenal. and Boy he needed that.
Alexander-Arnold completed the rout with a stinging shot from outside the box and in the end, it could have been 10.