Jürgen Klopp said it himself. As soon as his Liverpool side started taking their chances, they would punish whichever poor, unlucky opponents happened to be standing in their way.

After seeing 40 shots return just three goals in draws against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow, it happened to be Slovenian champions Maribor who experienced the full force of what Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, on their day, can do.

Each member of that forward line found the net here, Firmino and Salah scoring braces, with seven unanswered goals in all after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened his account and Trent Alexander-Arnold rounded off Liverpool's biggest-ever European away victory. It was enough to send them top of Group E, level on points with Spartak after their shock 5-1 defeat of Sevilla.

Make no mistake, Maribor are a poor side that any team with desires to reach the knockout phase should comfortably beat, but they are also the type of side that this Liverpool team has struggled against recently. They experienced no such problems here.

It took just four minutes for Firmino to find the opener, despite Maribor's best efforts to stop him. One diligent steward initially prevented the Brazilian from entering the Stadion Ljudski after he walked in without wearing ID in the hours before kick-off.

Darko Milanič's defence were nowhere near as effective, however, and after Salah pounced on a stray pass, burst forward and cut back from inside the penalty area, Firmino had ample time to guide the ball into a gaping net.

If that goal was an example of the counters we have come to know Klopp’s Liverpool for, the second showed they are capable finishing off fluid, flowing moves too.

The masterful Coutinho started and finished it, initially collecting the ball in his own half and combining with Firmino. Salah was then released down the right once more and the Egyptian delicately slipped James Milner in behind Maribor’s backline.

Milner's resulting cross to the edge of the area seemed lost for a moment but then came Coutinho to clip a volley into the corner of the net.

It was a sublime finish for the playmaker’s fourth in four consecutive away games and with barely a quarter of an hour gone, the game was already won.

Salah did not need to tuck away a third and fourth to make Liverpool’s superiority clear, but still doubled their lead before the half-time whistle was heard, arcing the ball round Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic for his first, then bundling another in from close range on the stroke of half-time.

To score that goal, Salah had impishly nipped in front of Firmino on the goalline but his team-mate, confident other opportunities would soon present themselves, did not have to wait long for a second goal of his own.

Nine minutes after the re-start, the Brazilian rose first to a Coutinho free-kick, flicking the ball behind himself and underneath Handanovic’s helpless left hand.

Salah or Firmino were now both on course to score Liverpool's first Champions League hat-trick away from home since Michael Owen collected the match ball from a trip to Spartak in October 2002, but with Sunday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur in mind, Klopp withdrew both, replacing them with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge.

The two combined as the contest - if it can be called that - drew to a close. Oxlade-Chamberlain had a spurned a chance earlier, shooting wide after breaking through the inside-right channel, but he made no made mistake at the second time of asking, coolly slotting home after Sturridge's pass had sent him through.

It was left to Alexander-Arnold to conclude the rout, with the teenager’s strike taking a deflection off Marko Suler’s elbow before finding its way in. Nights at the elite level of European competition are rarely as easy as this.

Source: Independent

This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.