Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick as Liverpool became the fifth English club to qualify for the last 16 of this season’s Champions League with a thumping victory over Spartak Moscow at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s Group E leaders came into the game knowing they needed to avoid defeat to be sure of reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2008-09 – and Coutinho gave them the lead with a fourth-minute penalty after Mohamed Salah was fouled by Georgi Dzhikiya. They doubled their advantage after a superb move 11 minutes later, Coutinho tapping home from Roberto Firmino’s pass.
Firmino netted himself to make it 3-0 at half-time, and Sadio Mane’s sublime volley extended the lead. Coutinho completed his first hat-trick for the club with a deflected shot, and Mane added the sixth before Salah completed the rout. Liverpool’s victory means this is the first time five English teams have qualified for the Champions League last 16 in the same season. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham will join the Reds in Monday’s draw at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
Asked if his side would be a threat in the last 16, Klopp said: “If we perform like this, if we are that clinical, then yes. “If we perform like this then it is obviously a threat, 100%.”