Liverpool will be in seventh heaven travelling back to John Lennon Airport on Tuesday night. Beating NK Maribor 7-0 in Slovenia is the best way to get past the 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Saturday.
An early goal from Roberto Firmino opened the scoring after four minutes and it sent the home side into an early shock and they never recovered.
The Brazilian forward added another in the second half. Mohamed Salah scored twice in the first half after setting up the opener.
Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold finished off Maribor in a rampant performance.
They were so good that with five minutes to go in the first half it felt like the end of the game. Maribor were chasing shadows and Liverpool's energy and pressing was too much for the home side to take.
Jùrgen Klopp‘s team now top Group E with five points, nipping ahead of Sevilla on goal difference after Spartak Moscow beat the Spanish side 5-1.
Here are five tactical takeaways from Liverpool's 7-0 win over NK Maribor in the Champions League.
Big Three Forwards Pays Off
On Saturday, during the goalless draw with Manchester United, Liverpool had 19 shots on goal, but their German coach admitted after the game that perhaps they failed to do enough in the final third.
“Maybe we didn’t create enough chances, but the problem is that everything you ask is always underlined with negativity.”
10 of those efforts came inside the box, with three blocked and just three on target. It wasn’t that the Reds didn’t create, it’s that they were wasteful.
Klopp took a gamble on Tuesday. With Sadio Mané out injured, he decided to play all three of his first-choice forwards, hoping to spark this team into life in front of goal.
They finished with 26 shots on goal, 16 inside the penalty are and 14 on target. Those seven goals hands them their biggest ever European away win and it sets Klopp's side up for the rest of the group stage.
It could have been a risk playing their star line-up when Daniel Sturridge, Dominic Solanke and Oxlade-Chamberlain are sitting on the bench, desperate for their chance.
Their movement, awareness of each other and chance creation was outstanding. It's safe to say, the biggest test will now be if they can take this confidence into the weekend's clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Coutinho Oozes Class
Klopp’s plan at the start of the season was to drop Coutinho into the midfield and play Firmino, Salah and Mané ahead of the Brazilian playmaker.
The Barcelona interest and then injuries have stopped that so far, but as Klopp explained before the United game, as long as he’s on the pitch, his position doesn’t matter.
“Systems are not that important. They are important of course but not as much if you can play different systems. You can play every system that you know, as long as they make sense. This at the moment is how we have to work with the players.
“So it makes for us the most sense like this and Phil can play every day in about five positions. It's cool.”
In Slovenia he was incredible and took up every position imaginable, finishing with 105 touches. You can see each of them from the map below and it's clear to see why the home side struggled to contain the Brazilian.
The only one of the front three to play the full 90 minutes, he finished with an incredible six key passes, four shots on target, six completed dribbles, not to mention two assists and a goal.
Milner Perfect On The Right
Last season, James Milner gained all the plaudits turning his hand at defending and making himself one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.
With Jordan Henderson out and Adam Lallana still injured, it was Milner who came into the midfield on Tuesday and he was excellent.
Playing on the right of the three, he was superb. Running down the flank, creating space for Salah and Alexander-Arnold. His passes were smart and with his excellent right foot, the England international delivered some excellent crosses too.
Emre Can played deeper, taking away his attacking impetus, but the former Aston Villa man showed he can still be a force in the Liverpool attack.
Milner finished with three key passes, 93.7 per cent of all his attempts finding their target and seven crosses. He even turned back the clock to complete four successful dribbles.
There's life in the old dog yet.
Oxlade-Chamberlain: A Turning Point
Klopp may have been tempted to start the summer signing against Maribor, but he went with his big three and Oxlade-Chamberlain had to wait on the bench.
Watching the goals flying in, the 24-year-old may have been thinking what could have been, but he would get his chance.
Three shots, two on target, one completed dribble and one crosses all within 34 minutes and 30 touches helped the midfielder get his first goal for Liverpool.
Sturridge played a little reverse pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain and he had an easy finish.
That will help him settle down to life at his new club.
Tuesday’s performance will have told him one important lesson, it’s going to take a lot more to push into this starting XI, but at least that monkey is off his back.
He's a long way from taking Salah's place on the right, and Milner showed how good he can still be in the middle of the park. It is now up to the new signing to prove he can make an impact with his appearances off the bench and Tuesday could be the spark that he needs.
Has Alberto Moreno Turned His Career Around?
It was thought that the Spanish defender was on his way out of Anfield, if Liverpool could find a buyer.
Milner became the starting left-back and the position was high on Klopp’s shortlist – even moving for Benjamin Mendy at one stage.
However, another positive performance from Alberto Moreno on Tuesday suggests the 25-year-old has played his way back into the first-team picture and he could classed as the undoubted first-choice left-back.
“In life and in football I am a fighter,” he told the Telegraph back in September. “I never give up and when you are down you have to use that motivation to work harder. I found strength from my family, my partner Lilia and my daughter Carla, who was born this time last year. Just looking at her face was my motivation. It lifted me.”
Another assist against Maribor, his second of the competition, just adds to his positive campaign so far. His runs from the left, making him an outlet on the opposite flank and an option down the wings, have been a feature of Klopp’s side.
Three shots, two key passes, five tackles and six accurate long balls, it was another good night for the Spaniard.
Moreno sits in the top four of Liverpool’s squad for tackles won per 90 minutes this season. It’s the same with clearances and he is only making 0.7 fouls per 90 in the league.
It’s time to accept that he is no longer a weak point in this defence.