Liverpool headed to Ibrox on Wednesday night following another setback in the Premier League against Arsenal at the weekend, and Jurgen Klopp will be relieved to see that his team still has some of its magic in their Champions League performance against Rangers.
The Reds delivered their Scottish hosts an absolute thrashing, ending the night as 7-1 winners with many moments of magic along the way, although it was a worrying start for the team when the Gers went 1-0 up in the 17th minute.
Despite the early goal from Scott Arfield, Liverpool dominated with 57% possession, more shots on goal (20 v 7), more big chances created (5 v 2) and a better passing accuracy rate (80% v 69%) on the night.
Liverpool are famous for their Champions League comebacks and last night was no exception, with Roberto Firmino finding the equaliser to Arfield’s opener within seven minutes to level the scores quickly, and the goals just kept coming for Klopp’s team in the second half.
Firmino found the net again in the 55th minute to make it 2-1, followed up by a third goal from summer signing Darwin Nunez just 11 minutes later. Three Mohammed Salah stunners in quick succession secured his hat trick just 13 minutes after he came off the bench, with the result capped off by Harvey Elliott in the 87th minute.
Indeed it was a record-breaking night for one player in particular as Salah became the fastest hat-trick scorer in Champions League history and smashed the record for the most goals scored playing for a single Premier League club in the prestigious European competition.
However, one player who has turned up time and time again this season and was Klopp’s hero in inspiring the team to victory last night was Brazilian number nine Firmino.
The 31-year-old, who was hailed as the Reds’ “real leader” by journalist Henry Winter, scored two goals, delivered one assist and made three key passes, while also winning 75% of his duels and making 52 touches, one tackle and one interception in his exemplary 73-minute performance.
Firmino has been a shining light for Liverpool in some of the darkest times during Klopp’s tenure this season, and has continued to show up when it has mattered most despite his team looking lacklustre and error-prone in the Premier League.
The Liverpool forward has scored six goals and delivered three assists in seven top-flight outings so far this term, with a goal contribution every 51 minutes which is extremely impressive and begs the big question about his future at Anfield.
Firmino is set to be out of contract in June 2023 and will be able to negotiate a deal with foreign clubs in January, but when you consider his impeccable form and perceived happiness to contribute from the bench when he is needed, it seems that Liverpool could be set to lose an invaluable asset in the team.
With that being said, it will be interesting to see if the talented attacker’s form continues into the months ahead. If it does, the powerbrokers at the club must surely find a way to retain his services for longer.