Liverpool are playing free instead of in fear – and that makes their visit to Wembley interesting

John Gibbons celebrates Liverpool's record-breaking Champions League win, and looks ahead to Wembley this weekend


Liverpool have created so many chances this season that fans have been saying for a while that someone was going to get a hammering at some point. Just when we were starting to worry we might actually just be a bit rubbish at kicking it in the goal, we go and score seven.

Good football, isn’t it? Makes fools of us all.

Maribor were a bit unlucky that a lot of things clicked for Liverpool on one night. They are also unlucky that they are a bit rubbish. But how rubbish? It is hard to tell really.

After all, they drew their last home Champions League game with Spartak Moscow who then went and hammered Sevilla 5-1.

They are probably quite good at football, I just don’t think they looked at all prepared for what Liverpool were able to throw at them. When viewing these teams described as Champions League “minnows”, it is easy to forget that they are the best teams in their leagues, often by a considerable distance.

Since the Slovenian PrvaLiga was established 26 years ago, Maribor have won it 14 times. Quite frankly, they are used to being the team doing the bullying.

Teams probably routinely put 10 men behind the ball against them, as the likes of Burnley and Manchester United do against Liverpool. So defenders who are used to marking one solitary carthorse now have Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Philippe Coutinho all running at them at once, with full backs bombing on with abandon too. It must have been terrifying.

That is not to say the result was never in doubt, Atletico Madrid going to Qarabag and playing out a frustrating 0-0 draw is the much more common scenario.

It’s just hard to know how much we should get excited about it as Liverpool fans. It was great fun, but what does it mean ahead of a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday?

Spurs could argue that their result on Tuesday was actually the more impressive one, and if a 1-1 draw could ever be described as a better achievement in the same competition as a 7-0 win, then this might be it. Tottenham went to the Bernabeu talking a refreshingly confident game and, by and large, delivered.

Their lack of fear at the home of the European champions was admirable and they can now consider themselves as part of the European top table.

But again, what does that all mean? Again, it is hard to tell. It was an extension of their very impressive away league form, but Sunday sees them back at Wembley where Spurs have found it more difficult.

They did manage to beat Bournemouth last time out, but a 1-0 win against The Cherries will hardly convince the world that Wembley is now the fortress White Hart Lane had become under Pochettino .

So plenty of uncertainty, but that all sets it up for an exciting contest where all results are possible. From a Liverpool point of view I just hope the players and the manager feel they have got their mojo back. That Tuesday, if not a ground-breaking result, is a reminder of how much fun they can have together playing football.

How they are much better playing free than in fear.

Spurs are currently four points ahead of Liverpool, and The Reds need to claw a few of those back. Sunday is as good a place to start as any.

The reformed, free-flowing Reds have got it in them to make the afternoon very uncomfortable indeed for Spurs, should it click again. And, whisper it, it’s two clean sheets in a row for the defence too…

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What do you think?