Liverpool cruised to a 4-0 victory against Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade at Anfield through a brace from Mohamed Salah, which followed Roberto Firmino’s opener. Mane also added to the scoresheet late on, slotting home from close range.
Here are five things we learned from the encounter.
Mohamed Salah is back
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Egyptian King. 4 goals in 12 games for Liverpool at the start of the season (before tonight) represented a slowdown from last season’s 44 goal frenzy. Tonight, however, he looked back to his best throughout the 90. His first goal came, similar to the one against Huddersfield, from a right-footed finish after a Shaqiri through ball.
The second was a penalty that was slotted down the middle as cool as you like. His all-round performance was magnificent, time after time causing problems to the Serbian side’s backline.
After finally starting to get amongst the goals, Mo will be glad to know Warnock’s leaky Cardiff side are on the horizon. Don’t put it past him to add to his recent goal tally with another against the Bluebirds.
Fabinho proves his worth
It was a simply incredible performance from the relatively unused Fabinho. He seemed to be absolutely everywhere on the night, not giving the Red Star players a second on the ball.
The Brazilian made 72 passes with a 90% accuracy, alongside two long balls and two key passes. He won a massive 18 duels on the night, including six out of six aerially.
Klopp has taken his time in introducing Fabinho to the Liverpool setup, but performances tonight will make that wait more than worth it for the Anfield faithful. Certainly a performance that will keep Liverpool fans excited about what lies ahead for Fabinho and for Klopp’s side.
Shaqiri’s stock carries on rising
Once again, Liverpool’s bargain buy Xherdan Shaqiri shone in Red, putting in another performance that has Kopites wondering how on Earth we managed to get him at the price we did. The Swiss international looked sharp throughout and helped massively in the first goal.
Showcasing his defensive ability, Shaqiri tracked back and made a fantastic interception, playing through Andrew Robertson who teed up Roberto Firmino for the opener.
His fourth assist of the season came from a through ball into Mo Salah who tucked away comfortably. It’s his second assist for the Egyptian in two games and hints at a possible partnership brewing on the right side of the pitch. If Shaqiri can keep his early form up, he’ll undeniably be one of the bargains of the summer.
Two years of Trent
This week marks two years since Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first professional game for Liverpool. It has been a meteoric rise for the now Liverpool and England regular, and his performance tonight showed exactly that. The 20-year-old recorded nine crosses and three key passes, as well as winning two duels on what was a relatively comfortable night for the right-back.
He’ll have tougher days, but his two year anniversary in a Liverpool shirt exhibited his incredible progress in a short space of time.
Top of the group at the halfway point
We are three games into the Champions League group stage, and it has been a mixed start for Klopp’s side. After the elation of a last minute win against Paris Saint Germain, they were brought plummeting back down to Earth after being dominated and beaten late on away at Napoli.
Today’s win, accompanied by PSG’s 2-2 draw at home to Napoli, leaves the Reds top of the group on six points out of a possible nine.
The reverse fixture in Belgrade comes next for Liverpool, and another draw between the other two main contenders in the group in PSG and Napoli would put Liverpool 3 points clear at the top of the group.
They’re only one point clear at this point, however, and there’s still work to do if they want to get out of the group.