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Liverpool stay top after brushing past Maribor

Liverpool stay top after brushing past Maribor

01/11/2017 at 21:40Updated 01/11/2017 at 23:00

Champions League Group E, Anfield - Liverpool 3 (Salah 49', Can 64', Sturridge 90') Maribor 0

Liverpool remain top of Champions League Group E following a patient 3-0 victory over a stubborn Maribor at Anfield.

The Reds racked up their biggest ever away win in Europe when they hit seven in Slovenia a fortnight ago, but they found Darko Milanič's men a much tougher nut to crack this time around.

The Merseysiders probed without reward during a frustrating first half, but finally broke the deadlock on 49 minutes when Mohamed Salah grabbed his 10th goal of the season.

James Milner then missed a penalty before a delicious first-time effort from Emre Can and a stoppage time strike from substitute Daniel Sturridge sealed a deserved success.

The result means Jurgen Klopp's men stay first in the pool on eight points with Sevilla on seven following their home win over Spartak Moscow, who are third on five.

Next up, Liverpool visit Sevilla on November 21 while bottom-placed Maribor travel to Moscow.

TALKING POINT

Patience key as Salah shines again. It's a case of job done for Liverpool. Expectation of a goal-fest was high following the record-breaking 7-0 success in Maribor, but with the visitors desperate to avoid another humbling and complacency lurking in the background, the bottom line was delivering the three points. They were made to sweat in the first 45 but remain on course for the last 16 with two games left, thanks largely to the spark provided by Salah. He's clearly emerging as a key man for the Merseysiders and his smart flick settled any concerns it could be 'one of those days.' Liverpool visit Sevilla next, but also have a home match against Spartak Moscow to seal a spot in the knockout stage if they come unstuck in Spain.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool). The Egyptian has been a revelation since his big-money summer move from Roma. He now has 10 goals in 16 outings and provided the touch of class that broke the resistance of a plucky Maribor rearguard.

PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Karius 6, Alexander-Arnold 8, Matip 7, Klavan 7, Moreno 7, Can 8, Milner 6, Wijnaldum 5, Salah 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Firmino 7. Subs: Henderson 6, Sturridge 6, Grujic n/a.

MARIBOR: Handanovic 8, Milec 7, Rajcevic 7, Billong 8, Suler 7, Viler 7, Bohar 6, Pihler 6, Kabha 6, Hotic 6, Mesanovic 5. Subs: Tavares 5, Bajde 5, Ahmedi n/a.

KEY MOMENTS

30' - LIVERPOOL HIT THE BAR. Firmino guides a header onto a defender's leg that loops towards the top corner before a super intervention by Handanovic, who tips it onto the bar.

49' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Maribor. Salah breaks the deadlock with a clever flick to turn home Alexander Arnold's cross.

53' - LIVERPOOL PENALTY MISS. Milner steps up but can't find a way past Handanovic after Firmino was hauled down by Rajcevic.

64' - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Maribor. Can plays a lovely one-two with Milner before slotting a wonderful low shot beyond Handanovic from the edge of the box.

90' - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Maribor. Sturridge nets his first CL goal in over six years after chesting down Moreno's delivery from the left and drilling home.

KEY STATS

Mohamed Salah is the third player to score 10 goals for a PL club in all competitions this season, after Kane & Lukaku.

Salah has been directly involved in 13 goals for Liverpool this season (10 goals, 3 assists); more than any other player.

Can is the second German player after Dietmar Hamann to score a goal for LFC in the Champions League.

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