Much of Liverpool’s pre-match English Premier League clash with Manchester City was about Erling Haaland’s goalscoring machine, and rightly so given the striker’s record-breaking form.
But at Anfield on Sunday, it was Mo Salah, who has overshadowed league newcomer Haaland so far this season, who headlined with a stunning winner to give his side a much-needed win, and their first against City since 2019.
Liverpool have had a terrible start to the league – they had won twice before this match in the worst start of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure – but a win at defending champions City will be a morale booster.
Still 14 points adrift of Arsenal, four ahead of second-placed City, a title challenge looks impossible for Klopp’s men, but should this win be a turning point, there is still time for the team to gain ground on their rivals. .
The downside for Liverpool was that Klopp was sent off at the end of the game after the Germans complained to the referee that Salah had been fouled. But when tempers cool down, the Liverpool manager will be delighted with the result.
For the goal, Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick fell straight to Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, who quickly found Salah through the middle. The striker eluded Joao Cancelo, then beat City goalkeeper Ederson one-on-one.
He had previously failed to beat Ederson one-on-one with the keeper, but it was a clinical finish and could prove to be a defining moment for Liverpool as they look ahead to this season.
“Mo is Salah’s genius. Great finish, great game from Salah,” said Chris Sutton, commentating on BBC Radio 5 live.
Moments earlier it looked like Salah would be substituted, but after Klopp had a quick word with his striker the manager changed his mind and Harvey Elliott made way.
The game was goalless until Salah’s breakthrough, but the scoreline belied the quality of the game.
Haaland, as you’d expect from a player who has already scored 15 goals this campaign, had chances, forcing two saves from Alisson, but it was a rare game in which the Norwegian was unable to make an impact.
City enjoyed plenty of possession, but Alissonen and defender Virgil van Dijk saw Liverpool find their totemic duo out of form.
The home side could have scored more in the closing stages, but Darwin Nunez shot wide when Salah was in better shape.