Philippe Coutinho hit a hat-trick as the Merseyside club outclassed Spartak Moscow 7-0 at Anfield to top their group and join the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham in the last 16.
Liverpool only needed a point to qualify but they went through in style with the other members of their “Fab Four” strike force getting on the scoresheet as well – Sadio Mane netting two and Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah one apiece.
The huge win means Liverpool have set a new scoring record for an English club in the group stages – they have hit 23 in just six games. That has only been bettered by Paris Saint-Germain this season.
The down-side is that Liverpool could face Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus in the last 16 but Klopp said: “No one will be happy to face us if we perform like this and can be that clinical. It was one of the better performances since I’ve been here. I can easily enjoy a game like this.
“It is good news for English football that there are five clubs in the last 16. It is down to the quality of the Premier League. They all have really strong squads so we will see where it will lead to.
“It was not as easy as it looked. When it was 6-0 my coaches and I were looking at each other and saying ‘how did that happen?’Because Spartak are a strong team.”
Liverpool were 3-0 up at half-time but after blowing a similar lead in Seville in their previous group game Klopp ordered his men to keep their foot on the gas – and they responded by scoring four more in the second half.
He added: “We learned our lesson after Seville. Now we must learn another lesson. After we beat Maribor 7-0 earlier in the group we lost to Tottenham 4-1.”
It is Liverpool’s first last 16 appearance since 2008-09 under Rafa Benitez and the night was the perfect warm-up for Sunday’s Merseyside derby.
Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said: “We started well and created chances. At 3-0 we were a little bit lacking in concentration and made a few mistakes but in the second half we did it good. That’s why we train on the training ground, to create chances for each other. We created space for other players.”
Mane, who scored the goal of the night with a spectacular volley, said: “We played good football today, the performance was great. It was amazing. We deserved to win.
Source : EXPRESS