Jurgen Klopp had the last laugh as Liverpool wreaked havoc on a record-breaking night next to the Drava River.
This was the demolition job Klopp's men have been threatening to dish out for weeks. A stuttering season finally has lift-off.
Maribor were emphatically dismantled as the Reds celebrated the biggest away victory in their illustrious European history.
When his CV was questioned on the eve of this contest, Klopp joked: “It sounds like I am a charismatic, funny loser.”
Liverpool served up a classy performance in Slovenia which proved he's anything but.
After all the flak during a tough run of just one win in eight matches, here was a welcome reminder about his breathtaking brand of attacking football and its ability to humiliate opponents.
The naysayers will insist it was only Maribor, but the Slovenian champions have held both Chelsea and Tottenham to draws on home turf in recent years.
The fact is any team in Europe would struggle to handle the three-pronged attack of Mohamed Salah , Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho when they are in this kind of mood.
Liverpool have paid a heavy price for not being clinical enough so far this season. Too often dominance has gone unrewarded but this was the night when everything clicked.
Salah and Firmino both bagged doubles with Coutinho also on target as the Reds raced into a 5-0 lead before the hour mark.
Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's first goal for the Reds will do his confidence levels the world of good and young Trent Alexander-Arnold had the final word on a night that will live long in the memory.
This was Liverpool's first away win in the Champions League for nearly eight years and it puts them top of Group E.
If it had been a boxing match Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai would have waved it off before the rampant Reds had even worked up a sweat.
Maribor had conceded just four goals in 10 home games this season but this was men against boys at the Stadion Ljudski vrt.
Their hopes of damaging Liverpool's European campaign were blown away during a devastating opening 20-minute spell.
The Slovenian champions simply couldn't handle the pace and quality of the Reds' attacking triumvirate of Salah, Firmino and Coutinho.
For the first time since the demolition of Arsenal in late August, Liverpool displayed a ruthless streak as Maribor were put to the sword.
Klopp's men led inside four minutes. Salah pounced on a defensive error, raced clear down the right and crossed for Firmino to convert from close range.
It was the Brazilian's first goal in six matches as he put his recent struggles firmly behind him. Firmino has got his mojo back.
Klopp had sprung a surprise with the inclusion of James Milner in midfield as skipper Jordan Henderson was rested.
It's been a tough few months for the experienced vice-captain. His joy at being relieved of left-back duties was quickly replaced by the frustration of becoming a bench-warming midfielder.
This was only Milner's third start of the campaign and he produced a timely reminder of what he's capable of. He's so much more than a grafter and was outstanding throughout.
Maribor repeatedly failed to track his intelligent runs from deep. Milner was denied by Jasmin Handanovic before playing his part in the Reds' glorious second goal.
Firmino swung it out to Salah, who picked out Milner's burst down the right. His cross was pin-point and Coutinho volleyed home from 12 yards out.
Liverpool were rampant and looked like scoring every time they ventured forward.
Maribor boss Darko Milanic was raging on the touchline and demanding his players got tighter but they were chasing shadows.
Firmino created the third as he won back possession and played in Salah, who took a touch to steady himself and dispatched it past Handanovic.
Just 20 minutes were on the clock and the jubilant travelling Kop were serenading the stunned locals with 'Show them the way to go home'.
Alexander-Arnold, who came in for Joe Gomez at right-back, whipped in a beauty of a cross which should have been tucked away. Klopp joined in the applause for the exciting teenager.
Maribor flickered into life and Loris Karius was called into action to keep out Mitja Viler's drive at his near post.
But their respite was only brief and a second successive clean sheet for the Reds was never really in doubt.
Coutinho tormented them with his box of tricks as he twisted one way and then the other.
Handanovic thwarted Salah and then Coutinho but five minutes before the break it was 4-0.
Alberto Moreno, whose revival continued on the banks of the River Drava, drilled expertly across the face of goal. Firmino and Salah were queuing up to score with the Egyptian getting the final touch for his eighth goal of the season. What a debut season he's having.
Of course some habits die hard and Klopp couldn't hide his anger when his backline nodded off from a free-kick, watching on as Marko Suler planted a free header wide.
It mattered little. Firmino went close and Coutinho's strike was beaten away as Liverpool continued to turn the screw.
The second half brought more of the same with Maribor repeatedly carved apart.
Coutinho's 25-yard free-kick forced a sprawling save from Handanovic before the fifth goal arrived on 55 minutes.
Firmino rose to meet Coutinho's centre and sent a glancing header into the far corner.
With one eye on Sunday's trip to Wembley to face Tottenham, Klopp rung the changes.
Salah departed to a standing ovation from both sets of fans, while Firmino and Gini Wijnaldum soon followed him with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke introduced.
Unsurprisingly, intensity levels dropped as Maribor were belatedly shown a modicum of mercy. Handanovic turned behind Oxlade-Chamberlain's strike and Coutinho couldn't convert Milner's deep cross.
However, Liverpool upped the pace again during a record-breaking finale.
With four minutes to go Sturridge's cute pass released Oxlade-Chamberlain and this time he made no mistake as he slotted home.
Alexander-Arnold put the icing on the cake when his deflected drive from the edge of the box left Handanovic beaten.
The rout was complete. Liverpool are back in business.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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