Liverpool s Darwin Nunez celebrates with Liverpool s Mohamed Salah after forcing an own goal by Aston Villa s Matty Cash during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. AP
Salah, the subject of a reported bid on Friday worth 150 million pounds ($188 million) by Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, tapped home a finish in the 55th minute to round off the scoring at Anfield as Liverpool built on recent wins against Bournemouth and Newcastle.
Dominik Szoboszlai drove in the opening goal in the third minute before Villa right back Matty Cash unwittingly guided the ball into his own net in the 22nd after Darwin Núñez hit the post and the ball rebounded out.
Liverpool stayed unbeaten and on 10 points from four games heading into the international break. By the time the Premier League returns in two weeks, Liverpool fans will be hoping Salah is still at the club.
With the transfer window not closed for Saudi clubs until Thursday, Al-Ittihad could yet come back with an even bigger bid for Salah, the Egypt superstar who is the world's most high-profile Arabic player. Liverpool insists the 31-year-old forward is not for sale but its resolve could still be tested.
Salah has scored two goals so far this season and Liverpool's attack is purring, with seven goals in its last three games. There could have been many more Sunday as the Reds repeatedly got in behind Villa's high line that was also exposed in a 5-1 opening-round loss at Newcastle.
The negative for Liverpool was the sight of Trent Alexander-Arnold limping off in the 71st minute with a leg muscle injury that could see him withdrawn from England's squad for the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland.
It was Alexander-Arnold — captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk — who sent over the corner from the right that missed everyone in the area and fell to Szoboszlai, who smashed the ball left-footed and diagonally into the bottom corner. It was the Hungary captain's first goal since joining Liverpool from Leipzig in the offseason.
Cash scored twice for Villa at Burnley last weekend, and again in Europa Conference League qualifying in midweek, but this time found his own net after Núñez raced onto Salah's pass and struck the post.
Joel Matip headed wide from point-blank range and Núñez hit the crossbar after chipping goalkeeper Emi Martinez as Liverpool threatened more goals.
Núñez, who started after two goals as a substitute last weekend against Newcastle, was narrowly wide with a volley from Salah's cross and the two then linked up for the third goal. Núñez glanced on Andrew Robertson's corner and Salah was at the back post to tap in.
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