Coutinho nets 3 as Liverpool spank Spartak 7-0 - RTHK
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Coutinho nets 3 as Liverpool spank Spartak 7-0

2017-12-07 HKT 08:54
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Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho scored a hat trick wearing the captain's armband to propel the club into the European Champions League knockout stage on a record-setting night for English soccer.

The Brazil playmaker headlined a devastating display by Liverpool in their 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow at Anfield on Wednesday, with the other three members of the attacking "Fab 4", Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, also scoring.

This win - their second 7-0 in the group stage - saw Liverpool top Group E and become the fifth English team to qualify for the last 16.

It is the first time a country has had five representatives in the Champions League knockout stage, signaling a revival by the English after a period of underachievement since Chelsea was European champion in 2012.

Liverpool are one of four English teams to qualify in first place, along with Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, and their tally of 23 group-stage goals is the second-highest in the competition's history, only behind Paris Saint-Germain's 25 from this season too.

Defeat put Spartak third in the group and into the Europa League. Sevilla finished second after drawing 1-1 with Maribor

Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto both qualified for the last 16 with wins in the final round of group games.

Shakhtar beat Group F winners Manchester City 2-1. Porto thumped Monaco 5-2 to qualify behind Besiktas in Group G. Those results dropped Napoli and RB Leipzig into the Europa League.

Tottenham, who had already qualified as group winners, rounded off their campaign beating Apoel Nicosia 3-0.

Defending champions Real Madrid finished second in that group after a 3-2 win at home over Borussia Dortmund. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in every game of the group stage. (AFP)