Egypt’s dazzling forward Mohamed Salah came off the bench to score twice and lead Liverpool to a 3-0 rout of Stoke City in the Premier League on Wednesday, going two goals clear on top of the scorers’ chart.
Salah replaced Dominic Solanke in the 67th minute and quickly made his mark, doubling Liverpool’s advantage with a brilliant strike 10 minutes later.
He met an inviting cross from Sadio Mane, who scored a first-half opener, with a brilliant left-foot volley that left the keeper with no chance.
Salah completed a personal double seven minutes from time when he robbed Stoke’s last defender and broke clear to slot home with aplomb.
He took his tally to 12 Premier League goals in 14 appearances, two ahead of Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
The result left Liverpool fifth on 26 points from 14 games, two behind fourth-placed Arsenal and three adrift of third-placed Chelsea as they stretched their unbeaten league run to five games.
It also delighted manager Juergen Klopp, who praised Salah after the Egypt forward came off the bench in the 67th minute and showed his class with a brilliant volley followed by a clinical finish.
"Thank you is all I said to Mohamed Salah, it is nice to come on in a situation like this," Klopp told the BBC.
"That is a proper away game, it is a difficult place. It was very deserved and we are very happy."
Mane fired Liverpool ahead with a superbly dinked finish in the 17th minute after right back Joe Gomez kept the ball in play and pulled it back for Dominic Solanke, who threaded it through to the Senegal winger.
As Stoke briefly regained their composure, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a lunging tackle on the edge of his penalty area, although Klopp defended the referee's decision.
"I don’t think it was lucky with Simon Mignolet, there were two defenders around the situation and he is not the last man," said the German.
Mane hit the outside of the post with only goalkeeper Lee Grant to beat in the 42nd minute before Liverpool's former midfielder Joe Allen squandered two gilt-edged chances for Stoke after the break.
The Wales international had a shot deflected inches wide of the far post and then volleyed over the bar from seven metres before Salah lit up the final quarter of the match.
Having replaced Solanke, he made it 2-0 in the 77th minute when he hammered his volley past Grant after Mane broke down the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross.
Salah got on the end of a poor back-pass six minutes later and buried the ball past Grant to delight the away fans before Stoke spurned a late chance to pull one back, when three players with only Mignolet to beat managed to miss the target.
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