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Liverpool too good for Maribor at Anfield

Emre Can

Liverpool moved closer towards the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2008-09 with a hard-fought victory over Maribor.

Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock in the second half with a clever, flicked finish but James Milner had a penalty brilliantly saved by 39-year-old goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic.

Midfielder Emre Can exchanged passes with Milner to curl in the second from the edge of the box and Daniel Sturridge drilled in a third late on.

Liverpool dominated the first half, holding 83% possession, but were unable to find the breakthrough - Roberto Firmino coming close with a stooping header which was tipped onto the crossbar by Handanovic.

Maribor's best chance fell to Martin Milec, but his low drive was collected by Loris Karius, the only save he made in the match.

Jurgen Klopp's side remain top and unbeaten in Group E with eight points from four games. They face Sevilla away and Spartak Moscow at home in their remaining games.

In the group's other game, Sevilla moved up to second by beating Spartak 2-1.

Patience pays off again

In their previous game against Huddersfield, Liverpool were goalless at half-time but went on to put three second-half goals past the Terriers. They did the same on this occasion.

The Anfield side had thrashed Maribor 7-0 last time out in Europe but failed to find the back of the net from 13 first-half shots.

Although Salah netted his 10th goal for Liverpool since signing from Roma in the summer, the Egyptian was wasteful in front of goal, slicing over the bar from a promising position and heading off target from just four yards out.

Liverpool also missed a penalty for the second consecutive game as Milner's effort was tipped onto the post by a full-stretch Handanovic. The Premier League side have now failed to convert their past four spot-kicks at home.

But their persistence paid off when German international Can gave his side breathing space with a well-taken finish, before England striker Sturridge came off the bench to net in back-to-back games for the first time since the start of this year.

Liverpool have now lost just once in their past eight games in all competitions and a much-criticised defence has kept four clean sheets in their past five games.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Karius
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 32Matip
  • 17Klavan
  • 18Moreno
  • 7Milner
  • 23Can
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forHendersonat 17'minutes
  • 11SalahSubstituted forSturridgeat 74'minutes
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forGrujicat 85'minutes
  • 21Oxlade-Chamberlain

Substitutes

  • 12Gomez
  • 14Henderson
  • 15Sturridge
  • 16Grujic
  • 22Mignolet
  • 26Robertson
  • 29Solanke

NK Maribor

  • 33Handanovic
  • 22Milec
  • 3Billong
  • 26RajcevicBooked at 52mins
  • 4Suler
  • 28Viler
  • 10HoticSubstituted forAhmediat 81'minutes
  • 8Kabha
  • 6Pihler
  • 39BoharBooked at 22minsSubstituted forBajdeat 69'minutes
  • 27MesanovicSubstituted forMorales Tavaresat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Vrhovec
  • 7Ahmedi
  • 9Morales Tavares
  • 12Vrsic
  • 20Bajde
  • 29Palcic
  • 69Obradovic
Referee:
Ivan Kruzliak

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamNK Maribor
Possession
Home75%
Away25%
Shots
Home23
Away5
Shots on Target
Home9
Away1
Corners
Home17
Away2
Fouls
Home7
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 3, Maribor 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Maribor 0.

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Valon Ahmedi (Maribor).

Goal!

Goal! Liverpool 3, Maribor 0. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alberto Moreno with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Gregor Bajde.

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Marwan Kabha (Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).

Jean-Claude Billong (Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Marko Grujic replaces Roberto Firmino.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jasmin Handanovic.

Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool).

Marko Suler (Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Maribor. Valon Ahmedi replaces Dino Hotic.

Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool).

Mitja Viler (Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Marwan Kabha.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Marko Suler.

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dino Hotic (Maribor).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jean-Claude Billong.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge replaces Mohamed Salah.

Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Marko Suler.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Martin Milec (Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Maribor. Conceded by Ragnar Klavan.

Attempt blocked. Marcos Tavares (Maribor) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Gregor Bajde.

Substitution

Substitution, Maribor. Gregor Bajde replaces Damjan Bohar.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Goal!

Goal! Liverpool 2, Maribor 0. Emre Can (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Milner.

Attempt missed. Martin Milec (Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Dino Hotic.

Foul by Emre Can (Liverpool).

Marwan Kabha (Maribor) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Ragnar Klavan (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marcos Tavares (Maribor).

Substitution

Substitution, Maribor. Marcos Tavares replaces Jasmin Mesanovic.

Attempt missed. Jean-Claude Billong (Maribor) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Damjan Bohar with a cross following a corner.

goal

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