Almost as soon as the final whistle blew on Liverpool’s resounding 7-0 win that saw them capture the top spot in Group E, there were negativist trolls crawling out from under their bridges to point out all the obvious caveat, “It was only Maribor.”
Of course, in recent years English sides Tottenham and Chelsea traveled to Slovenia and failed to come away with all three points. And—given Liverpool’s recent struggles—a simple, albeit nerve-wracking 1-0 win would have been taken by a majority of fans, were it offered prior to the first three minutes of last night’s showdown.
But no, the Might Reds, who despite recent history still consider Europe’s premier competition their birthright, would not settle for one goal. Nor two. Nor six. Seven goals came to the men wearing the blinding orange kits, and with it an English record in the Champions League.
The previous record was held by Manchester United—unlucky—in a 1957 6-0 win over Shamrock Rovers, and equalled by Leeds united in 1969 when they saw off Norwegian side Lyn by the same scoreline.
The away record also equals the record for biggest away wins by any European side in the Champions League, joining Marseille and Shaktar Donestsk, who saw off Zilina in 2010 and BATE Borisov in 2014, respectively.
Liverpool are now the proud co-owners of both home and away Champions League victories. Their 2007 8-0 home thrashing of Besiktas was only recently equalled, but not surpassed, by Real Madrid against Malmo in 2015.
“It was only Maribor,” could be a reasonable retort for a 3-0 score line, but 7-0? That’s something very, very special. Especially considering our recent struggles and general struggles “turning up” against “lesser sides.”
Liverpool still have a great deal of work to do to qualify for the next round, and one big result is pretty meaningless if we flame out early. Regardless, we should enjoy the occasion because it might be a very long time before we see a Liverpool side click like that in Europe again.