Liverpool may be struggling in the Premier League this season, but they put their domestic woes behind them when they travelled to Ibrox on Wednesday (12 October), handing Rangers a 7-1 drubbing in their fourth group game of the 2022-23 Champions League campaign.
It was their third win in Group A, and the Reds are behind leaders Napoli – one of the two sides with a 100 per cent record so far this season.
With just two games left in the group stages, a point will put Liverpool safely into the Champions League knockout, and that should not be hard to come by when they face the Italians and Ajax.
Roberto Firmino inspired Jurgen Klopp‘s men against the Scottish Premiership side, but it was Mohamed Salah who grabbed the headlines after coming off the bench to bag three goals in six minutes and 12 seconds – the fastest hat-trick in the history of the competition.
Rangers raced into the lead 17 minutes into the game through Scott Arfield, and Liverpool fans would have been fearing the worst having seen such a poor start to a game several times this term.
However, Firmino drew them level seven minutes from a corner. While Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side held on to the draw heading into half-time, they could not stand a reinvigorated Liverpool when play resumed, with the Brazilian forward putting the visitors ahead 10 minutes into the second-half.
Darwin Nunez made it 3-1 10 minutes later and things went south for the Light Blues from that point, with the Egyptian winger scoring in the 76th, 80th and 81st minutes – all of his three goals assisted by Diogo Jota.
Harvey Elliott made things go from bad to worse for the hosts with three minutes left on the clock, grabbing Liverpool’s seventh goal of the night to hand Rangers their heaviest-ever defeat in Europe.
It also ranks as their worst result in history across all competitions, equalling their 1957 League Cup final defeat to Celtic.
The Gers returned to the elite European competition for the first time in 12 years this season, and things have not gone as planned for them after reaching the finals of the Europa League last season.
The Ibrox side currently sit on zero points and a goal difference of -15 having scored just once and shipped 16 goals, and with games away to Napoli and at home to Ajax still to come, it is safe to say they have come to the end of their continental adventure for the season.
While Liverpool will be aiming to finish top of Group A, Rangers will be aiming not to finish bottom, and that will only happen if Ajax – with three points – were to lose to the Premier League side in their next match and lose in Glasgow by more than five goals, allowing the Light Blues move into third and advance to the Europa League last-32.
Early elimination from Europe will see Rangers focus on the title race, and while Liverpool are all but out of the Premier League title race, with 14 points between them and league leaders Arsenal, they could look to fully focus on the Champions League, and they cannot be ruled out despite their woeful domestic form.