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Liverpool 7, Spartak Moscow 0: First Thoughts

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Liverpool book their ticket for Champions League knockout rounds in emphatic fashion.

Liverpool FC v Spartak Moskva - UEFA Champions League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool 7: Coutinho (P) 4’ 15’ 50’, Firmino 19’, Mane 47’ 76’, Salah 86’
Spartak Moscow 0:

  • Pre-match Thought: In the words of Stevie G, we don’t want to wake up tomorrow in the UEFA Cup. A win and we win the group. A draw and we’re still through, regardless of the other result. Fowler willing, it won’t come to those other contingencies. Liverpool run out a strong line-up, and Philippe Coutinho will lead us out of the tunnel as our captain.
  • Penalty! Mohamed Salah is dragged down in the box on a simple cross from Coutinho on the very first attack of the night.
  • GOAL! Coutinho, apparently, isn’t just our new captain, but also our new penalty taker. The Brazilian makes a very slow approach to the spot, but sends the keeper the wrong way and slots it. What a start!
  • Emre Can picks up another (very well deserved) yellow, and will miss the next European match. He’ll have to be careful not to pick up a second, with another 85 minutes left to play.
  • GOAL!! Two for Coutinho, two for Liverpool! You won’t see many prettier team goals than that. Sadio Mane picks out Salah’s run through the middle, the Egyptian lays it off for Roberto Firmino, who cuts it back for Coutinho on the opposite side of the box. The Kop is once again singing Phil’s name!
  • GOAL!!! Liverpool up by three within twenty minutes. Mane drives into the box and attempts to pick out Firmino. His pass is cut out by a defender’s arm, but it falls to Bobby, who finishes it with a first-time outside of the boot shot.
  • Things have settled down a bit since the opening flurry, but Liverpool remain absolutely terrifying on the counter. The hosts look far more likely to get a fourth (or more) than the visitors do to get back in this match.
  • Oh shit. Alberto Moreno appears to have picked up a knock, and it doesn’t look good. He’s able to walk off under his own weight, but James Milner is warming up. Albi returns to the pitch, but not for long, and gets a standing ovation as he is subbed off.
  • Halftime Thought: Fuck, when we’re good, we’re gooooood. Let’s just not have another second half meltdown, m’kay? In other news Maribor is leading Sevilla 1-0. Go figure.
  • GOAL! Good fucking night. Milner picks out Mane with a fantastic cross, and the Senegalese international blasts it home with a first time volley.
  • GOAL! A hat trick for the Magician! I think, even with our defense we’re safe with a five-goal lead. Milner, once again, starts the move, cutting inside and finding Coutinho, who fires it home (with a friendly deflection, because it’s just that kind of night).
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold comes on for Dejan Lovren. Joe Gomez moves to center back.
  • Since the fifth, Liverpool have really taken their foot off the gas. The home side is enjoying much more possession in the second half, and it seems like now both sides just want to hear the final whistle.
  • Daniel Sturridge comes on for Firmino for tonight’s final sub. He finishes the night with a goal, an assist, and all the pressing. Another great match for Bobby.
  • GOAL! Salah picks out Sturridge’s run into the box, and Danny centers it for Mane to finish. The pass was a bit behind Mane, but he was just able to get a foot on it, and put the shot on target.
  • Daniel Sturridge is denied a stone-cold pen, but can you really blame the ref at this point for waving play on?
  • GOAL! Mohamed Salah makes it seven for the second time in this group stage. Can plays a long diagonal for Milner, who nods it down into the Egyptian’s path. Salah shifts the ball onto his right foot, and slots it.
  • Final Whistle Thought: It had all the hallmarks of another dramatic European Night at Anfield™, but it was anything but. Liverpool dominated from start to finish, putting in a performance worthy of topping the group. Now, the Reds are on to their first appearance in the Champions League knockout rounds since their quarterfinal run in 2008-09.

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.