Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Champions League with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield.
Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the 20th minute before Salah netted on the stroke half-time.
Salah then scored his 50th Liverpool goal from the penalty spot before Sadio Mane rounded off the scoring, having also seen a penalty saved.
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Van Dijk (7), Gomez (7), Robertson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Fabinho (7), Wijnaldum (7), Shaqiri (8), Firmino (7), Mane (7), Salah (8)
Subs: Lallana (5), Moreno (5), Sturridge (6)
Red Star Belgrade: Borjan (5), Degenek (5), Babic (5), Stojkovic (4), Gobeljic (4), Jovicic (4), Krsticic (4), Ebecilio (5), Srnic (5), Nabouhane (5), Boakye (5)
Subs: Causic (5), Jovancic (5), Simic (5)
Man of the match: Xherdan Shaqiri
The win sees Jurgen Klopp’s side move top of Group C, a point ahead of Napoli, who followed up their victory over Liverpool with a 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain.
Liverpool have laboured at times in recent weeks, only scoring three goals in their last five games, but eased to victory against Red Star as Salah, Mane and Firmino scored in the same game for the first time this season.
Having lost 6-1 against Paris Saint-Germain in their last outing, Red Star looked to press Liverpool early and might have taken the lead in the 17th minute when Srdjan Babic volleyed over from 10 yards out from a corner.
However, that was a rare opening for the visitors and Liverpool, who had already seen Salah denied by Milan Borjan, took the lead in the 20th minute.
Mohamed Salah – 50 Liverpool goals in 65 apps
12 Champions League
1 FA Cup
1 Champions League Qualifying pic.twitter.com/GOeQaaD7Rs
Shaqiri’s perfectly-weighted pass split the defence and Andy Robertson crossed into the middle for Firmino to finish.
Liverpool added to their advantage late in the half as Shaqiri showed fantastic vision to play into the path of Salah and he finished past the goalkeeper.
Salah scored his 50th Liverpool goal from 65 matches shortly after half-time, smashing a penalty down the middle after Vladimir Stojkovic had been harshly penalised for a foul on Mane.
The hosts looked in cruise control but Mane missed a chance to extend the lead when he saw a penalty saved and then scuffed the rebound, following a handball against El Fardou Ben Nabouhane.
Sadio Mane started for Liverpool, having missed the weekend win over Huddersfield with a hand injury suffered on international duty. Summer signing Fabinho made only his second start and Xherdan Shaqiri kept his place.
However, Mane ended his seven-game scoring drought when he finished in the 80th minute from Daniel Sturridge’s pass, and Adam Lallana and Mane both spurned chances for a fifth.
- Liverpool have scored 48 goals in the Champions League since the start of last season, 10 more than any other side (Real Madrid next on 38).
- Red Star Belgrade have won just one of their 10 away games against English opposition (D4 L5).
- Excluding qualifiers, Liverpool are unbeaten in each of their last 17 home games in major European competitions (W12 D5), scoring 43 goals in that time.
- Since start of last season, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in 19 CL goals, (12 goals, 7 assists), more than any other player.
- Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in 10 goals in his eight Champions League games at Anfield for the club (six goals, four assists).
- Mohamed Salah hit the 50-goal milestone for Liverpool in all competitions, reaching that tally in just 65 games.
Man of the match – Xherdan Shaqiri
If Shaqiri can regularly repeat this kind of performance then the £13m paid for him in the summer will be a bargain.
He was instrumental in the first goal – winning the ball back and then playing through for Robertson – and his touch to set up Salah for the second was superb. He also played a fine pass over the top earlier in the game that Salah probably should have scored from.
Liverpool host Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday before a trip to Arsenal on Saturday, November 3. They travel to Red Star Belgrade in the return fixture on Tuesday, November 6.
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