18 October 2017

Visualized: Liverpool 7-0 Maribor

Previous Match Infographics: United (h), Newcastle (a), Spartak Moscow (a), Leicester (a), Burnley (h), Sevilla (h), Manchester City (a), Arsenal (h), Hoffenheim (h), Crystal Palace (h), Hoffenheim (a), Watford (a)

Match data from WhoScored, except average position from the SofaScore app.

(Here's the formation diagram usually included in match reviews.)

I missed you, goals. Yep, it was only a matter of time before Liverpool absolutely went off on someone. Just like we all *looks around shiftily* predicted.

• 53.8% shot accuracy. In the six non-League Cup games following the Manchester City debacle (Sevilla, Burnley, Leicester, Spartak, Newcastle, and United), Liverpool's shot accuracy was 26.1%.

• 33.3% goal conversion. In those previous six games, Liverpool's goal conversion was 9.9%.

• Seven clear-cut chances created, five clear-cut chances scored. In those previous six games, Liverpool created 15 clear-cut chances, but scored only three.

• 19 of 26 shots from inside the box – 73.1%. Just 56.7% of Liverpool's shots in those previous six games came from inside the box.

4.5 xG. Liverpool's xG average over the previous six games was just under 2.0. Liverpool's previous xG high under Jürgen Klopp was 3.7, the 4-0 massacre of Everton in 2016.

I also missed you, counter-pressing. All but one of Liverpool's seven goals started in Maribor's half.

• Viler's error and Salah's pace for the first. One pass later, goal.

• Can blocking an attempting clearance, which fell directly to Firmino, to start the move for Liverpool's third. One pass later, goal.

• Can recovering a mis-hit pass out of the back to start the move for Liverpool's fourth. Three passes, goal.

• Can winning a free kick after Maribor couldn't clear Coutinho's free kick for the fifth. One set play cross, goal.

• Suler's error and Sturridge's quick counter and pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain for the sixth. One pass, goal.

• Tavares' weak header picked up by Coutinho, spread wide for Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool's sixth. One pass (and one deflection), goal.

Liverpool had sustained possession prior to the third, fourth, and seventh goals as well. Yes, Liverpool lost possession. But Liverpool didn't let Maribor out. Liverpool swarmed, Liverpool immediately reclaimed possession – by both luck and talent – and Liverpool punched Maribor in the face. Repeatedly.

And that's not to downplay Liverpool's second goal, arguably the best of the bunch. Coutinho recovers the ball in Liverpool's defensive third and charges forward. Firmino holds position as the fulcrum on the halfway line, receives the pass, and immediately looks for a charging Salah down the right. A throughball to Milner, a cross to Coutinho – who, again, started the move basically in Liverpool's penalty area – hit first time past Handanovic. The move took all of 16 seconds.

Go. Go fast. Go fast towards their goal. Don't look back, don't let them get into position. Just go. That's how Liverpool succeed.

The early error and initial onslaught pushed Maribor deeper and deeper. Maribor are also probably the slowest side that Liverpool have faced this season. Maribor committed three errors leading to goals – including the all-important first – and two more leading to shots. Maribor admittedly were not good.

I do not care. Spartak Moscow weren't good, and Liverpool could only draw 1-1. Liverpool had five clear-cut chances in that match as well. Burnley, Newcastle, and United weren't all that impressive either, if to a lesser extent than Maribor or Spartak, and Liverpool could and probably should have won all of those matches.

There are only two matches in recent memory which come close to this level of annihilation: Liverpool's 7-0 FA Cup win at Birmingham in 2005-06 and Liverpool's 8-0 Champions League win over Besiktas in 2007-08. I don't care how bad the opposition may have been. When you're setting records for the joint-biggest Champions League away win, the biggest Champions League away win by an English side, and the club record biggest European away win, you're doing something right.

This was Liverpool's largest margin of victory in a decade. Just let that sink in for a second.

For the third time this season, Liverpool's starting front three all scored – the first time it's happened away from home – and they did so within 19 minutes of opening whistle. The match ended with each of those front three involved in three of the seven goals: two goals and an assist for both Firmino and Salah, two assists and a goal for Coutinho. Coutinho's now scored in four successive away matches. The last Liverpool player to do that was Steven Gerrard in 2013-14, and all of his goals during that stretch came from the penalty spot.

Seven different players created at least one chance, and six of them registered an assist. Five different players created a clear-cut chance: Salah, Milner, Firmino, Moreno, and Sturridge. Only Coutinho created more chances than Milner, making just his third start of the season. While Emre Can doesn't show up on the attacking stat sheet, he was heavily involved in reclaiming possession for the game-killing third and fourth goals.

And at the other end of the pitch, Liverpool kept its first clean sheet away from home this season; they may not have been tested often, but I'll churlishly point out that Maribor put more shots on-target than Manchester United did. And had a slightly higher xG total, thanks to Suler's missed set play clear-cut chance.

Liverpool are now top of their Champions League group on goal difference after Spartak amazingly beat Sevilla 5-1. It's a knot, with Liverpool and Spartak on five points and Sevilla on four. But Liverpool, with two of three matches left at Anfield, are back in control of their own destiny.

And Liverpool, after this performance, need to reclaim their destiny in the Premier League. We almost certainly won't see this potency again this season, but this performance cannot be a one-off. And it starts with Tottenham on Sunday.

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