Liverpool were rewarded for their patience as they eventually overcame some resilient defending from Slovenia’s Maribor to win 3-0 at Anfield in their Champions League Group E match on Wednesday.
Maribor had learned their lesson after suffering an embarrassing 7-0 home defeat in Slovenia and defended in numbers, keeping a compact shape and allowing Juergen Klopp’s side plenty of possession but few chances.
After a frustrating first half, Liverpool finally broke through in the 49th minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from the right was expertly flicked home by Mohamed Salah.
The home side should have doubled their advantage four minutes later when Roberto Firmino turned superbly to beat his marker Aleksander Rajcevic, who then brought down the Brazilian inside the area to concede a penalty.
Yet Maribor keeper Jasmin Handanovic did well to push James Milner’s spot kick on to the post.
The cushion of a second goal arrived in the 64th minute when Emre Can played a swift one-two with Milner before confidently driving home from the edge of the box.
Substitute Daniel Sturridge made it 3-0 in the final minute when he was spotted, unmarked at the back post by Alberto Moreno following a short corner and had time to control before firing home.
Liverpool top the group with eight points, one clear of second-placed Sevilla and three ahead of Spartak Moscow. Maribor prop up the standings with one point.