Liverpool’s run in the Champions League so far could, to undersell it, be described as ‘eventful.’
Had they settled into their group earlier, then, Wednesday night’s clash with Spartak Moscow would have been a dead rubber with qualification already secured, such as their habit of throwing away points that were there for the taking. However, they need not have worried too much, as they annihilated the Russian side 7-0 in a display of attacking brilliance.
Indeed, it wasn’t just on Wednesday that Liverpool were in rampant form. Despite being the last English side to qualify and drawing as many matches as they had won by the end, there are seriously impressive numbers behind their return to Europe’s top table this season.
The aforementioned thrashing brought Liverpool’s goal tally for the campaign to 23, meaning that they have now scored more than any other English side at this stage in the history of the competition – ahead of Manchester United’s 20 in their treble-winning season in 1998/99.
In fact, if it weren’t for PSG and their own prolific form in front of goal, then the Reds would have been out in front in the whole of Europe with that record:
Most goals in (first) group stage in single CL season:
25 – PSG (2017/18)
22 – Liverpool (2017/18, after 6-0)
21 – BVB (2016/17)
20 – Man United (1998/99)
20 – Barça (2011/12)
20 – Real Madrid (2013/14)
20 – Barça (2016/17)
— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) December 6, 2017
Incidentally, the 7-0 victory also gave rise to this interesting stat…
Liverpool have more 7-0 wins this season than 1-0 wins.
— Anfield Express (@AnfieldExpress) December 6, 2017
Of Liverpool’s 23 goals, 19 of them were scored by either Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane or Philippe Coutinho. With that record, those four on their own would still be second in the team goalscoring charts:
CL Group stage goals:
19 Coutinho, Firmino, Mane & Salah
17 Real Madrid
15 Spurs, Porto
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) December 6, 2017
Coutinho’s hat-trick, which brought his own tally in the competition to five this season, is the first time a Liverpool player has scored three at Anfield in European competition since Steven Gerrard against Napoli in a Europa League group stage in 2010 (under Roy Hodgson, no less). It’s also only the third time a Liverpool player has scored a Champions League hat-trick at Anfield:
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 6, 2017
Despite their problems the back (and even then they conceded by and large the same amount as many of the other qualifiers with six (bar Barcelona with one and Man United with three), their blistering attack means that they will be one of the more dangerous prospects in Monday’s draw.
Liverpool have scored 22 goals in the Champions League this season. They only scored 18 in 2004-05, when they won it.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) December 6, 2017
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football Podcast, We chat to former Limerick and Cork City striker John O’Flynn about his search for a new club, we discuss Robbie Brady’s injury and recap the latest LOI transfer news.