A record-setting Mohamed Salah hat-trick helped Liverpool thrash Rangers 7-1 at Ibrox in a second half masterclass to see them all but through in the Champions League, and the Scots out.
The home side, who last scored a Champions League goal in 2010, took a shock but deserved lead after just 16 minutes as Scott Arfield found the bottom corner from the edge of the area after some great work to win the ball back high up the pitch by his teammates.
Liverpool could have found themselves two goals down soon after as a misplaced backpass nearly allowed Ryan Kent to steal in, but as has become a regular occurrence this season, Roberto Firmino provided the moment of quality needed for the Reds to get back on level terms.
An inswinging corner from Kostas Tsimikas was met by the Brazilian, who had outmuscled James Tavernier at the near post to register his seventh goal of the season, and it was Jurgen Klopp’s side that continued to grow into the occasion.
They began the second half in similarly slow fashion, but their quality shone through as Joe Gomez found a delicious cross to pick out Roberto Firmino to double his and Liverpool’s tally.
Rangers evidently tired, and just after the hour Darwin Nunez added a third to all but put the tie to bed, tucking home confidently following some nice work from Firmino.
The gulf in class only increased with the substitutions, with Mo Salah coming off the bench to bag a six-minute hat-trick, the fastest in the history of the competition, before Harvey Elliot added a seventh, completing the rout.
It leaves Rangers bottom of the group, needing two wins against Ajax and Napoli to stand any chance of finishing in third and dropping into the Europa League. Liverpool, on the other hand, are just one point away from qualification, though at present they will qualify behind high-flying Napoli.
Here’s how 101 rated the two teams.
GK: Alan McGregor - 4
Shipped five and will think he could have prevented at least one of them.
RB: James Tavernier - 5
Looked dangerous in the first half but could not get on the ball much in the second.
CB: Conor Goldson - 6
Was having a really good game until injury forced him off early. The Floodgates then opened.
CB: Ben Davies - 4
Looked all at sea when asked to be the experienced defender of the pair, was solid until then but fell apart with the rest of the team.
LB: Borna Barasic - 5
Was wasteful in the final third and gave the ball away far too often. Was punished accordingly.
CM: Ryan Jack - 6
Forced off with injury on the hour, he did well while on the pitch and avoided the rout later.
CM: John Lundstrum - 5
Struggled with Liverpool’s midfield increasingly in the second half. A poor night for the former Blade.
CM: Scott Arfield - 7
Took his goal well, and never stopped running but the gulf in class was clear.
RW: Fashion Sakala - 5
Looked bright in the first half but was well off the pace in the second.
LW: Ryan Kent - 7
Tormented Gomez for a large part of the first half. Faded as the game went on.
ST: Antonio Colak - 4
Hardly touched the ball.
Leon King - 3
A tough game for the youngster, who came in with the score at 1-1 before being a culprit in the calamitous second.
Steven Davis - 4
Could not get near the Liverpool midfield.
Scott Wright - 3
Looked well off the pace.
Rabbi Matondo - 4
Hardly touched the ball.
Alfredo Morelos - 4
Came on with Matondo, but hardly got a kick
GK: Alisson - 6
Did not have a great deal to do.
RB: Joe Gomez - 5
Was very poor defensively but provided a gorgeous cross to help put Liverpool into the lead just before the hour.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk - 6
Solid but unspecatular.
CB: Ibrahima Konate - 7
Won just about everything in the air and cut out a dangerous counter-attack in the second half.
LB: Kostas Tsimikas - 5
Did nothing to enhance his chances of starting against Manchester City at the weekend with a largely indifferent performance.
CM: Fabinho - 6
Improved significantly in the second half after a poor first 45.
CM: Harvey Elliot - 7
Brings some much-needed energy to Liverpool’s midfield, and grabbed his first-ever Champions League goal in the dying minutes.
CM: Jordan Henderson - 5
Looked off the pace in the first half, but improved in the second.
RW: Fabio Carvalho - 6
Buzzed around energetically without really affecting the game.
ST: Roberto Firmino - 9
A man reborn from last season, the Brazilian continues to carry Liverpool this season, adding two goals and an assist in an all around top performance.
LW: Darwin Nunez - 7
Took his goal well but did little else of note. Taken off and likely being saved for the clash with Manchester City.
Andy Robertson - 6
A welcome return to first team action with his side cruising.
Mo Salah - 10
Grabbed a six-minute hat-trick as he reminded everyone just what he can do. A perfect answer to his critics.
Thiago - 6
Made a couple of poor fouls with his side cruising. Looked slightly off the pace.
Diogo Jota - 6
Will have been gutted not to get on the scoresheet as the rest of the forward line did.
James Milner - 5
Came on and was solid as his side dominated the ball.