Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow: Champions League – as it happened

Barry Glendenning on 6 December 2017

Match report: Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow

Our chief football correspondent Daniel Taylor was at Anfield to see Liverpool thrash Spartak Moscow and here is his on-the-whistle report. Tune in later for added post-match colour and comment from some of the main protagonists.


Meanwhile in Slovenia ...

It’s finished all square between Maribor and Sevilla, who drew one goal apiece. Here’s how they’ve finished in Group E. Liverpool go through as winners, Sevilla qualify in second place and Spartak Moscow drop into the Europa League.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 17 12
2 Sevilla 6 0 9
3 Spartak Moscow 6 -4 6
4 Maribor 6 -13 3

Full-time: Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeep! Our referee spares Spartak Moscow the anguish of added time and it’s all over at Anfield, where Liverpool have slaughtered Spartak Moscow 7-0. Philippe Coutinho bagged a hat-trick and Sadio Mane a brace, while Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah got one each in a rout that could have been a lot more emphatic given some of the chances they missed. Liverpool go through as group winners.

89 min: “Mane could be on for a Salvador Dali-esque surrealist hat-trick,” writes Paul Griffin. “He’s scored an nonsensical scissor-kick rocket for the first and affected an absurdist rabona for his second. He just needs to convert the ball into a melting spoon to get the full set. It’s a difficult technique but I’m backing him.”

86 min: Standing with his hands on his hips in the Spartak Moscow goal, Aleksandr Selikov looks thoroughly fed up with life after picking the ball out of his net for the seventh time. He’s done little wrong and made a few decent saves, but there was certainly nothing he could do about that shot Salah rifled into the roof of the net. He received a pass from the left, took out a defender with a feint as he shifted the ball from one foot to the other and then buried the ball into the roof of the net.

GOAL! Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow (Salah 85)

Salah finally gets on the score-sheet and it’s a fine strike into the roof of the net from eight yards out.

Salah gets the seventh.
Salah gets the seventh. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


82 min: Daniel Sturridge - who I’ve just referred to as Danny Welbeck for weird reasons I can’t quite fathom - latches on to a sublime pass from Philippe Coutinh, takes the ball around goalkeeper Aleksandr Selikov and is brought down. Perhaps out of sympathy for the Russian side, the referee doesn’t award a penalty.


81 min: Spartak embark on a rare sortie into Liverpool territory, only for their attack to break down when Roman Zobnin gave the ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold.


78 min: Spartak substitution from a few minutes ago: Aleksandr Samedov on, Quincy Promes off.

75 min: It’s single-bagel for Liverpool, who have notched up a tennis score against their Russian visitors. Daniel Sturridge got in behind the Spartak defence down the inside right and squared the ball for Sane, who was up in support. The pass was a little behind Sane, but no matter - he more or less bundled it over the line from close rage with his standing foot.


GOAL! Liverpool 6-0 Spartak Moscow (Mane 76)

Sadio Mane scores his second of the night to make it a round half-dozen for Liverpool.

Mane rushes in and connects to score the sixth.
Mane rushes in and connects to score the sixth. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


76 min: “Commentary farce is claiming another victim here,” writes another Alex, in Boston. “Trying to listen to the audio stream on my phone at work, but it’s not built for mobile. If we’re going to muscle out the likes of 5 Live then we should at least have our own media platforms up to scratch.”

73 min: Sturridge is flagged for offside as he mistimes his run on to a ball from deep down the inside left channel.

72 min: Liverpool substitution: Roberto Firmino goes off with one goal and one assist to his name and is replaced by Daniel Sturridge.

70 min: Liverpool seem to be taking something resembling pity on their guests and some of the sting seems to have gone out of their attack. They’re not attacking with the same kind of intensity which has been the hallmark of this their game this evening.

66 min: “Off the field things aren’t quite so peachy,” writes Alex Lomax. “No-one thought to tell the IT guys that the BBC had been refused rights for live commentary, the LFC login server has been down since 7.30.”

Welcome one and all, particularly our new readers. Here’s hoping you’ve come for the minute-by-minute report and will stay for the comment, features, podcasts and myriad other juicy delights the Guardian has to offer.

64 min: Spartak midfielder Fernando is booked for clattering through the back of James Milner. A minute or so later, Firmino tries to tee up Mane for a shot on goal, only for his deft pass to be hacked clear by a defender.


62 min: Mo Salah goes close to getting among the goals, only to be denied by a fine save from Selikov, who dives low to his right to save the curling effort, It’s a bit of a shame, really - while Selikov deserves a break, Salah took out two Spartak players with a wonderful drag-back en route to goal and could have bagged himself a fine individual effort.

60 min: Liverpool substitution: Dejan Lovren off, Trent Alexander-Arnold on. Spartak Moscow substitution: Georgi Dzhikiya off, Chelsea loanee Mario Pasalic on. With his team 5-0 down, he doesn’t look like a man who’s relishing the opportunity of playing in the Champions League at Anfield.

59 min: Coutinho picks out James Milner on the left with a neat ball through the Spartak penalty area, but the substitute is unable to squaeeze the ball through the corridor of uncertainty for Mo Salah.


58 min: Meanwhile in Slovenia, Maribor continue to lead Sevilla 1-0 in this group’s other fixture.

55 min: Mo Salah hasn’t got among the goals yet tonight but looks on the verge of getting on the scoresheet with a shot from 20 yards until Spartak right-back Andri Eschenko intervenes.

54 min: As Coutinho celebrated his deflected effort from 20 yards, Massimo Carrera replaced his striker Ze Luis with Lorenzo Melgarejo. One suspects Ze Luis is glad to be out of there. No pressure, Lorenzo. Just the six goals required.

51 min: Selikov is forced to pick the ball out of the net again as Philippe Coutinho completes his hat-trick in front of the Kop with the scruffiest goal of the night. His shot took a heavy deflection on the way in, giving the wrong-footed goalkeeper no chance.

GOAL! Liverpool 5-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho 50)

Stick a fork in this Russian team. They. Are. Done.

Coutinho scores the fifth for his hat-trick.
Coutinho scores the fifth for his hat-trick. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images


49 min: That was a sensational volley from Mane. With his first touch of note, Milner whipped an out-swinger of a cross in from the left. Mane was running on to it and his technique was sublime as he sort of scissor-kicked a diagonal volley past the hapless Russian goalkeeper, who probably didn’t see the ball, such was the venom with which it was struck.

GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 Spartak Moscow (Mane 47)

Oh lord! Sadio Mane sends a volley screaming past Aleksandr Selikov after getting on the end of a James Milner cross.

Mane belts a volley to score the fourth for Liverpool.
Mane belts a volley to score the fourth for Liverpool. Photograph: Paul Greenwood/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


46 min: No changes in personnel during the interval, which first half substitute James Milner spent out on the pitch warming up with one of Liverpool’s backroom staff.

Second half: Liverpool 3-0 Spartak Moscow

46 min: Liverpool get the second half party started and it’s difficult to imagine them not scoring another few goals against a Spartak side that have been totally unable to cope with the blistering pace of Salah, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho. It’s difficult to imagine what, if any, solutions Spartak manager Massimo Carrera, who was Antonio Conte’s No2 at Juventus, might have had to offer his players. His side need to win tonight, so can’t really afford an exercise in damage limitation. However, if his players do go for broke, they could face total humiliation.

Half-time: Liverpool 3-0 Spartak Moscow

That’s your lot for a first half in which Liverpool completely crushed Spartak Moscow. Philippe Coutinho bagged two and Roberto Firmino got the other in a half where Sadio Mane and MOhamed Salah also spurned decent chances. Liverpool have, however, lost Alberto Moreno to what might be a serious injury (knacked ankle ligaments, perhaps) given the player’s reaction as he walked off. He was distraught, in tears as he hobbled off the pitch.

45 min: Moreno goes down injured again and will shortly be replaced by James Milner. Yup, Liverpool substitution: Moreno off, Milner on. Moreno looked very upset as he walked off; here’s hoping his injury is not too serious.


44 min: Moreno hobblers to the sideline before coming back on. He’s still limping badly, but Liverpool’s medical team will probably reassess him at half-time.

41 min: There’s a break in play as Alberto Moreno receives treatment for what looks like a twisted left ankle sustained as he hung his leg out to block a pile-driver of a shot from Ze Luis.

39 min: Now Salah shoots inches over the bar after being put through. Liverpool are so rampant here, a court stenographer would struggle to keep up with them, let alone me with my sausage fingers skittering around a crisp crumb-covered keyboard. Georgi Dzhikiya, who I was hoping would have a quiet night tonight due to the difficulties his name presents for those of us trying to type minute-by-minute reports, is having an absolute nightmare. Already responsible for the concession of two Liverpool goals, he is very, very lucky to avoid a second yellow card for deliberate hand-ball.

36 min: Sadio Mane blazes a right-footed shot over the bar when scoring looked easier after being put through on goal by a delightful back-heeled flick from Mo Salah.

33 min: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez and Luiz Adriano end up in a tangled heap outside the Liverpool penalty area after the Liverpool goalkeeper charge out of his penalty area to clear a through ball the other two were chasing. Gomez had it covered, so we can only assume Karius was bored.

32 min: Spartak Moscow show some long overdue signs of life, stringing a few nice passes together as they make their way towards the edge of the Liverpool penalty area. They get no further.

31 min: Luiz Adriano sprints down the right flank chasing a pass from deep, but Alberto Morena beats him to it and puts it out for a throw-in.

29 min: Quincy Promes wins a corner for his side and sends the ball into the mixer. Liverpool clear.

28 min: Now it’s Salah’s turn to go close, shooting low and hard towards the bottom right-hand corner after being teed up by Mane. Aleksandr Selikov saves fairly comfortably.

Salah has a pop.
Salah has a pop. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images


25 min: One of few Spartak players making any effort to track back or pick up his man, Spartak striker Luiz Adriano gets back to prevent Phil;ippe Coutinho from completing his hat-trick. Running on to a pass to the edge of the Spartak penalty area, Coutinho looked set to pull the trigger with the goal at his mercy, only to be denied by a tackle from Adriano that left him limping.

24 min: A minute or two after taking a shot on when Philippe Coutinho was in a better position, Sadio Mane tries to teee up the stand-in skipper with a pull-back from the byline. Salvatore Bocchetti intercepts and clears.

19 min: More calamitous defending from the Russian side, who gift another goal to their hosts. A loose pass from Georgi Dzhikiya, who gave away the opening penalty, gifted possession to Sadio Mane, who advanced up the field and attempted to pick out Mo Salah in the Spartak penalty area. Serdar Tasci made a pig’s ear of his clearance and with the ball dropping kindly for him, Roberto Firmino steered it past Aleksandr Selikov and into the top corner with the outside of his right boot.

GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Spartak Moscow (Firmino 19)

Crikey! This is turning into a turkey shoot.

Firmino scores the third.
Firmino scores the third. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA


16 min: That was too easy for Liverpool, who took advantage from some extremely generous defending to seize complete control of this match. In acres of space, Philippe Coutinho side-footed into the bottom right-hand corner after having the ball presented to him on a plate by a deft pass from Roberto Firmino. Sadio Mane began the move, while Mo Salah was also involved.

GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho 15)

Atrocisous defending from Spartak as Liverpool score almost at their leisure to double their lead.

Coutinho scores the second goal.
Coutinho scores the second goal. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters


15 min: Philippe Coutinho tries to curl the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area, it takes a deflection and Selikov saves easily.

13 min: Spartak break down the left flank and the ball’s played to Luiz Adriano, who shoots through Dejan Lovren’s legs and brings a smartish save out of Loris Karius.

13 min: Meanwhile in Slovenia, Maribor have taken an early lead against Sevilla.

10 min: Sadio Mane gets in behind the Spartak defence to get on the end of Coutinho cross, but blasts the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle when perhaps he should have squared it for Roberto Firmino.

9 min: Going back to that penalty, for which Georgi Dzhikiya was booked. It was a daft challenge by the Spartak left-back, who put his arm around Mohamed Salah’s shoulder as the Egyptian sprinted into the Spartak penalty area in pursuit of a long diagonal from Philippe Coutinho. Salah went down and the referee pointed to the spot without any hesitation.

6 min: Liverpool go close again, bursting forward with Roberto Firmino cutting into the left-side of the Spartak Moscow box. His attempted cross to Sadio Mane is cut out. As Spartak gallop off on the counter-attack, Emre Can is booked for a scything challenge on Luiz Adriano.

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Spartak Moscow (Coutinho 4pen)

Liverpool’s skipper makes no mistake as he takes his run-up and hesitates ever so slightly before sending Spartak’s Aleksandr Selikov the wrong way. Selikov goes left, the ball goes right and Liverpool are a goal up.

Coutinho scores from the spot.
Coutinho scores from the spot. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA


Penalty for Liverpool

4 min: Mo Salah goes down in the box under a challenge from Georgi Dzhikiya as he chases a cross from deep and Liverpool have a spot-kick.

3 min: The players of both teams try to feel their way into the team, with most players apart from the two goalkeepers getting early time on the ball.

2 min: Philippe Coutinho wears the captain’s armband for Liverpool tonight, with Jordan Henderson dropped to the bench.

1 min: Play is under way at Anfield, where the crowd seem in fine fettle. Ze Luis kicks off for Spartak Moscow and almost immediately, Liverpool win a throw-in near the halfway line.

Not long now: The teams are on their way out on to the Anfield sward for the last of the pre-match niceties. Liverpool’s players wear their customary home kit of red shirts, shorts and socks. Their visitors are in white shirts, shorts and socks.

A reader email: “I’ve been staring at the line-ups for 10 minutes and whichever way I look at it, Liverpool’s defence just spells trouble,” writes Václav Smerda. “There is too much pressure on the front three. You only win when you outscore the opposition, but with that defence it just means scoring three or four goals each game.”

And this from Peter Oh: “Klopp singled out Quincy Promes but I’m also concerned about Spartak’s physical strikers, Brazilian Luiz Andrade and Cape Verdian Zé Luís,” he writes. “‘Zé Luis’ is ‘Joe Louis’ in English, which causes me particular concern. I hope he doesn’t land an uppercut to the jaw of Liverpool’s chances of advancing to the knockout stages.”

An interesting statistic ...

Speaking on BT Sport, Gary Lineker has just revealed that Liverpool have lost 39 points from winning positions in the Premier League since Jurgen Klopp took over as their manager. Of their top six rivals, Arsenal are next, having lost 30 points in the same period of time. It is a sign that for all their pleasing qualities going forward, Liverpool are a wee bit of a shambles at the back.

Liverpool v Spartak Moscow line-ups

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Coutinho, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Henderson, Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.

Spartak Moscow: Selikhov, Eshchenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Dzhikija, Zobnin, Glushakov, Fernando, Promes, Luiz Adriano, Ze Luis.

Subs: Rebrov, Samedov, Melgarejo, Kutepov, Pasalic,
Popov, Pedro Rocha.

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)

Jurgen Klopp speaks

“This is the game,” said the Liverpool manager yesterday. “We are only part of the Champions League because we want to go to the next round. All the good and bad things that have happened so far have got us to this situation. If we win the game, that’s cool! I’m really looking forward to it. I think we are stronger than when we played them last, but I think they are as well. They have players back, so it should be an exciting game.”

On what he’s expecting from tonight’s opponents: “We have learned from our first game with Spartak, but the atmosphere here should give us an advantage,” he said of his side’s 1-1 draw in Moscow. “Everyone knows what the atmosphere here can do. It’s special, and it will be special tomorrow night.

“We want to win this game, so I will not hesitate in lining up our best team - as we have done in every game so far. We have always focused on having the players with the skills and the fresh legs to win the game. Thankfully that has worked well in recent weeks. It will be no different tomorrow.”

Jurgen Klopp (right) and Joe Gomez
Jurgen Klopp chats with Joe Gomez during a training session at Melwood yesterday. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool to lodge complaint about alleged racism

Liverpool are to make an official complaint to Uefa after Rhian Brewster was allegedly racially abused during the Youth League game with Spartak Moscow played earlier today at Prenton Park. The 17-year-old was incensed after being targeted by an opposition defender during Liverpool’s 2-0 win and had to be dragged away by team-mates at the final whistle, according to the Guardian’s man on the Merseyside beat, Andy Hunter.

The 17-year-old reported the alleged offence to the referee Mohammed al-Hakim during the game and he passed the details to the fourth official at Prenton Park. You can read the full story below.

Massimo Carrera speaks ...

“The 90 minutes tomorrow will decide who is better,” said the Spartak manager in his pre-match press briefing. “We’re going to face great players with a great atmosphere inside our squad. We will face a very strong team, but we respect the opposition and the fans of Liverpool. We expect it to be very tight tomorrow. Liverpool have many strong players. We respect them, but we don’t fear them.”

Massimo Carrera
Spartak Moscow manager Massimo Carrera. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

How things stand in Group E

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Liverpool 5 10 9
2 Sevilla 5 0 8
3 Spartak Moscow 5 3 6
4 Maribor 5 -13 2

Liverpool will go through to the knockout stages if they avoid defeat. If they lose and Sevilla beat Maribor, Liverpool will drop into the Europa League.

Early team news ...

Liverpool defenders Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan are available for selection after recovering from the illness that ruled them out of Liverpool’s win over Brighton last weekend. Joel Matip and Adam Lallana remain sidelined with thigh injuries. For Spartak, defenders Dmitri Kombarov and Georgi Tigiev are injured, as is midfielder Jano Ananidze.


Barry will be here soon enough.

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