Perhaps the key to getting the best out of Mohamed Salah is dumping him. Exuberant and then unleashed, the Egyptian warmed up for Manchester City with the fastest treble in Champions League history.
In six minutes and 12 seconds of magical mayhem, Salah served up a reminder of his brilliance. Rangers may feel unlucky to have faced him at his predatory, rampant best, but a game Liverpool fell short ended in defeat as Salah came off the bench to spectacularly seal their belated first away win of the season .
Perhaps it added to the oddity of a team that has now won 9-0, 7-1 this season while otherwise faltering. In the second half, scoring six goals, they went from struggling to excelling as Rangers leveled their heaviest European defeat.
Salah’s cameo was a scene stealer but, as so often in Klopp’s reign, Liverpool really had Roberto Firmino to thank. In a time when others have declined, he has been rejuvenated. The Brazilian’s brace put Liverpool in front from behind and has given him eight goals in his last nine games. He set up the third with a delightful backheel for Darwin Nunez to score a second goal in as many games.
The double-header with Rangers has had restorative qualities for Nunez and a brief outing could do the same for Salah. The energy he saved for the last few puffs was devastating. He had been kept in reserve along with Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota as Klopp tried to ensure everyone was fit against City on Sunday. He made six changes and Liverpool ended up scoring seven goals.
Rangers, who have now conceded 16 goals in four Champions League games, were destroyed in a game they led. A night that had started with Scott Arfield scoring Rangers’ first goal in the Champions League group stage since 2010 ended with them gutted and embarrassed.
They were Europa League finalists in May; this continental campaign seems destined to end in early November. Liverpool, meanwhile, need just a point against Ajax in Amsterdam to secure their place in the knockout rounds.
When such relationships are labeled the Battle of Britain, Liverpool are really fighting themselves. There was the now-familiar slow start, a goal involving multiple faults, from Fabio Carvalho, who lost the ball in his first Champions League start , down to Jordan Henderson and Fabinho giving Arfield the space to drill the Rangers forward. But thoughts of crisis should give way to completely different emotions.
Liverpool were just seven minutes behind before Firmino had the easy task of heading in Kostas Tsimikas’ corner off the post. Set pieces had earned Joel Matip’s winner against Ajax and both goals against Rangers last week and in a first half when Liverpool weren’t fluid in the open game their dead ball skills served a purpose.
They improved after the break and Firmino proved crucial. It is not unknown for Liverpool to be supported by their right-back. In the absence of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez conjured up a cross worthy of the regular, perfectly placed for the onrushing Firmino to fire home. He then showed his improvisational skills to set Nunez free and score the fourth goal of his Liverpool career.
Perhaps cruelly for the Rangers, Klopp then sent Salah on. After Allan McGregor threw a spanner in the works, the Egyptian rewrote the record books: first with a goal in the brand’s typical manner from a tight angle after a slalom dribble, then with a shot from the edge of the box, and finally with a typical flick. When Harvey Elliott embellished his own superb performance with a goal disallowed, then given by VAR, it was the wrong milestone for Rangers.
It had started well. It seemed fitting that a Rangers fan at Arfield scored his first goal at this level since 2010. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were more challenged to attack at home and Ryan Kent set the tone even before Arfield scored. But if their defensive tactics in last week’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield had been a damage control exercise, it showed just how much damage Liverpool could do. It was too much for Rangers.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/mo-salah-roberto-firmino-liverpool-darwin-nunez-champions-league-b2201615.html Rangers vs Liverpool Result: Champions League Result, Goals, Report