For an early kickoff in an away match on a rainy, windy, dreary day in December, a 4-0 victory spurred on by a hat trick from your supposedly “out of form” star striker is just about the best result one could ask for. The fact that it put the Reds, however briefly, at the top of the table is icing on the cake.
Jürgen Klopp agrees with that sentiment, saying in his post-match press conference that Liverpool got a perfect result, even if the game itself wasn’t without its flaws: “In the end when you see how it developed, especially with the scoreline at the end, it is perfect, but in the game we had a lot of things we could have done better.”
The boss highlighted the team’s first half performance as one that required improvement.
“I didn’t like too much that we didn’t change the rhythm more often, we still have to adapt to that and improve it,” he admitted. “We could create more but you all the runs, all the little runs, we did they came all together and we benefitted for the first goal. With all the little runs, we opened two gaps and then Joel passed the ball through, Bobby could turn and shoot and Mo scores the goal. We said at half-time that so far it was OK but not more, we had to do better because we can do better – the counter-press, we had to keep it up, putting them under pressure if we lose the ball.”
And what of the hat-trick hero himself, Mohamad Salah, who propelled the team to victory on Saturday?
“Whatever you do in a football game, you need somebody to finish it off, and what Mo did around his two goals in the second half was just exceptional. I don’t know in the moment a lot of players who would have scored these two goals.
”The first one is a foul actually, but he wants to score the goal so stands on his feet and scores it. Not the most impressive finish, but I would say pretty surprising. The third goal as well, how we set it up, that was good.
”Nobody should be surprised about that [staying on his feet]. His desire to score goals is obvious, and it’s very good for us. I heard the first goal was offside, before people make it something.
”It’s just really brilliant what he did, and I like that mindset.”
Liverpool remain unbeaten in the first 16 games of the league season, and have won their last five in a row, scoring 12 goals in that time and conceding only once. The Reds have been on a remarkable run, and if this is a warning shot that Mohamad Salah is about to rev back into the form we saw last season just in time for the festive period, then that could only mean good things indeed.