Liverpool pulverises ineffectual Maribor

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both scored braces as Liverpool secured their first Champions League win of the season.

Liverpool delivered an attacking masterclass to thump Maribor 7-0 and breathe new life into its Champions League campaign.   -  AFP

Liverpool delivered an attacking masterclass to thump Maribor 7-0 and breathe new life into its Champions League campaign.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were in mesmerising form and scored two goals apiece as the Reds banished memories of disappointing draws against Spartak Moscow and Sevilla in their opening two Group E games.

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Firmino opened the scoring inside just four minutes before Philippe Coutinho and Salah put Jurgen Klopp’s side out of sight before the 20th minute.

Salah scored a fourth from close-range before half-time, while Firmino grabbed his second shortly after the restart with a header.

Liverpool’s relentless approach tailed off as the second half wore on, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened his account for his new club having earlier missed a great chance, before Trent Alexander-Arnold finished off the scoring as the Reds recorded the biggest away win from an English club in Europe's premier competition.

The win is a big relief for Klopp, whose side had won just once in eight outings prior to this trip, and Maribor will have to improve dramatically if it is to avoid being on the end of an embarrassing scoreline on Merseyside in a fortnight's time.

Liverpool, captained by James Milner on his third start of the season, made a dream start as Firmino scored his second Champions League goal of the season with the team's first attack.

Salah pounced on an error from Marko Suler to break into the penalty area and tee up the Brazilian to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Milner then saw a curling effort from the edge of the box easily gathered by Jasmin Handanovic, but they carved the opponents open with alarming ease and had a second after 13 minutes.

Salah fed Milner inside the area and his pull back was scuffed past Handanovic on the half-volley by Coutinho from 15 yards for his fourth consecutive away goal for the Reds.

Firmino and Alberto Moreno then squandered excellent chances, but it was 3-0 inside 20 minutes through the irrepressible Salah.

This time, Firmino was the provider, feeding an incisive pass through a static Maribor defence and the Egyptian coolly slotted past a woefully exposed Handanovic.

There was no let up and Salah had his second six minutes before the break, the winger edging ahead of Firmino to tap Moreno's cross into the empty net from close range.

Any doubts that Liverpool would sit on its lead were banished nine minutes into the second period as Firmino grabbed his second, the former Hoffenheim forward rising highest to flick Coutinho's teasing free-kick into the far corner. 

Moments after his fierce drive was repelled by Handanovic, Oxlade-Chamberlain added a sixth when he broke past a dispirited home defence to slot past the Maribor goalkeeper in the 86th minute.

Alexander-Arnold got in on the act in stoppage time, also scoring his first goal for the club, with a deflected shot to round off a memorable night for Klopp's side.

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