Liverpool win Group E with Coutinho hat trick

Liverpool win Group E with Coutinho hat trick

After leaving goals and points on the table throughout their Champions League run, Liverpool clicked into high gear when they needed to, demolishing Spartak Moscow, securing a first place finish, and advancing to the knockout rounds.

Philippe Coutinho's goal for Liverpool - a hat trick for the Brazilian - in the second half was the record-breaker.

Up stepped Captain (for the night) Coutinho to coolly dispatch the penalty.

The game was all but over just three minutes later. Sadio Mane bagged a brace, while Roberto Firmino and Mohamad Salah snagged one apiece.

Liverpool can book their place in the Champions League knockout round if they avoid defeat at Anfield tonight.

Despite a slow start to the group stages the reds have won the group by some distance and there has been a glut of goals scored by Liverpool's mean and lean attacking machine.

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15 minutes into the game, Coutinho doubled the lead after a lovely play between Sadio Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Despite a period of settled play from Spartak - including a moment which saw Joe Gomez and Loris Karius collide some 40 yards from Liverpool's goal - it was Liverpool who had the chance to increase the goal tally when Mane went through in the 36th minute. For every exhibition of fluid, free-scoring football, it has been offset by needless and inexplicable capitulation. It is why, in part, hopes of a Premier League title challenge have long disappeared before Manchester City's runaway charges made an already improbable pursuit insurmountable for them as much as the rest of the chasing pack.

Click on the link above to follow commentary on all the action, while below is the full schedule as we will have reaction and analysis on all the UCL action on Wednesday.

It was an ominous performance from the hosts' lethal front four and Klopp is undaunted by the prospect of being paired with the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Juventus in Monday's draw.

Richard Buxton is a UK-based writer and special correspondent for Sportsnet.

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