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Liverpool's Fab Four smash seven past Spartak Moscow to top group

Liverpool's Fab Four smash seven past Spartak to top group

06/12/2017 at 15:46Updated 06/12/2017 at 23:14

Champions League Group E, Anfield - Liverpool 7 (Coutinho 4' (p), 15', 50', Firmino 18', Mane 47', 76', Salah 86') Spartak Moscow 0

Philippe Coutinho struck a hat-trick as Liverpool booked their place in the Champions League last 16 courtesy of an emphatic 7-0 rout of Spartak Moscow at Anfield.

The Brazilian playmaker, who was handed the captain's armband with Jordan Henderson on the bench, led by example as he followed up a nerve-settling fourth minute penalty with a cool finish on the quarter of an hour mark.

Roberto Firmino added a third on 18 minutes as Spartak's fragile defence were continually led a merry dance by the vibrant attack of the Merseysiders' 'Fab Four.'

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with Liverpool's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) after Firmino scored their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anf

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with Liverpool's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) after Firmino scored their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at AnfGetty Images

The Reds went for the jugular again after the break with Sadio Mane lashing in a stunning volley before Coutinho completed his first treble for the club with a deflected fifth.

Mane then steered home a sixth and Mohamed Salah finally got in on the act four minutes from time to cap an extremely one-sided night.

The margin of victory saw Liverpool top the pool ahead of Sevilla in style as they reached the last 16 for the first time since 2008-09 and became the highest scoring English team ever in a single Champions League group stage (23).

The Reds will now turn their attention to Sunday's Anfield derby with Sam Allardyce's Everton, hoping to make it a perfect week for the red half of Merseyside and extend an unbeaten run that currently stands at nine matches.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool's fab four make them one to avoid in next Monday's draw. Liverpool's victory ensures there will be five English names in the hat for the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time ever - and few of their potential opponents will fancy a trip to Anfield on this evidence. The Reds have a front four capable of troubling even the best of defences on their day, particularly on a European night in L4. Firmino, Coutinho, Mane and Salah have scored 46 goals between them this season, including 22 in their last seven matches. The Merseysiders could face the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus - but Klopp and Co will feel they can give anyone a game when their front men are on song.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho (R) is hugged by Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (C) and Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after Coutinho scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho (R) is hugged by Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (C) and Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after Coutinho scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E footballGetty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool). Continued his superb form with three well-taken goals. The captaincy certainly seems to suit him as does the understanding he has developed as part of a scintillating front four.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho points to his team-mates after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on Decembe

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho points to his team-mates after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on DecembeGetty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Karius 7; Gomez 8, Lovren 7, Klavan 7, Moreno 6; Can 7, Wijnaldum 7, Coutinho 9; Salah 9, Mane 9, Firmino 9. Subs: Milner 7, Alexander-Arnold 7, Sturridge 7.

SPARTAK MOSCOW: Selikhov6; Eshchenko 5, Tasci 5, Bocchetti 5, Dzhikiya 5; Fernando 5, Glushakov 5; Zobnin 5, Adriano 5, Promes 6; Ze Luis 5. Subs: Melgarejo 5, Samedov 5, Pasalic 6.

KEY MOMENTS

4' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow. Captain Coutinho coolly sends the keeper the wrong way from the spot as he rolls it into the right-hand corner he is facing.

15 - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow. Mane, Salah and Firmino put it on a plate for Coutinho to arrive on cue and slot a composed shot beyond the keeper to claim his second of the night.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho (R) is hugged by Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (L) after Coutinho scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anfield

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho (R) is hugged by Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (L) after Coutinho scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at AnfieldGetty Images

18 - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak Moscow.. Firmino rifles an emphatic shot into the corner after Mane's cross deflected into his path.

47' - GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 Spartak Moscow. Mane smashes a sensational volley into the net from the right of the area after meeting Milner's perfect cross with a bang.

50' - GOAL! Liverpool 5-0 Spartak Moscow. Coutinho finishes off another lovely move by taking the ball in his stride and fizzing a deflected shot beyond the keeper to snare his hat-trick.

76' - GOAL! Liverpool 6-0 Spartak Moscow.. Sturridge pulls free on the right and puts it on a plate for Mane to steer home from inside the six-yard box.

86' - GOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow. Salah gets his goal to cap the night. Lovely feet from the Egyptian to turn in the box and fire into the net after Sturridge had dummied Milner's knock down.

Mohamad Salah (FC Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow)

Mohamad Salah (FC Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow)Getty Images

KEY STATS

Philippe Coutinho's penalty was Liverpool's fastest goal in a Champions League game at Anfield (three minutes and 51 seconds).

This is the first time since 2006-07 that four English sides have finished first in their respective groups in a single Champions League campaign.

England are the first nation to have five different teams qualify for the Last 16 of the Champions League (since 2003-04).

Mohamed Salah has scored more goals in all competitions this season than any other Premier League player (18).

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