ANNIHILATION: Salah United hat-trick leaves Reds fans purring
Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Manchester United were ripped apart by relentless rivals Liverpool to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under the most intense scrutiny of his near three years in charge.
The 202nd meeting of two of English football’s biggest rivals will live long in the memory after Jurgen Klopp’s men ran amok and recorded the club’s biggest win at Old Trafford.
Liverpool were as impressive as United were poor, with scintillating Salah scoring a treble to complement early goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota in a 5-0 rout in which substitute Paul Pogba was sent off.
Sir Alex Ferguson was seen shaking his head in disbelief after the fifth goal, with the visiting fans chanting Solskjaer’s name during an embarrassing display that will test the Old Trafford hierarchy’s support of their manager.
Never before in Premier League history had United gone into half-time four goals behind, but their consistently poor defence was punished by Liverpool as Keita and Jota scored before two Salah strikes.
A cacophony of boos met the half-time whistle and the Egyptian magician completed his hat-trick five minutes after the restart, with Pogba’s red card for a poor tackle on Keita compounding matters.
Liverpool forward Salah has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season and his form has led to him being hailed as currently the best player in the world.
The Egypt international has scored in every game bar one this campaign in a run that has seen him score 15 goals already.
Here, we take a closer look at Salah’s season so far:
Form of his life
Salah has scored 15 goals in 13 appearances. The only team to prevent him finding the net are Burnley, back on August 21.
By comparison, in his first year at the club when he broke the single-season Premier League scoring record (32) on his way to 44 goals, he had six at the same stage of the campaign.
The Egyptian’s first goal at Old Trafford was the 10th successive match in which he had scored. He is the first man to achieve the feat in the club’s 129-year history.
After scoring against Norwich in August he became the first player in Premier League history to net on the opening day of five consecutive seasons.
Surpassing the greats
When Salah found the net in the draw at Brentford last month, he became the fastest player to score 100 top-flight goals for Liverpool.
His century came in his 151st match and although overall it was behind Roger Hunt (148) and Jack Parkinson (149) some of their goals were scored in the second division.
A couple of weeks earlier he became only the second African player to score 100 goals in the Premier League and his opener at Manchester United, Liverpool’s third, took him past Didier Drogba’s 104.
Salah’s second goal against Atletico was his 31st for Liverpool in the Champions League (one came in a qualifier). That is one better than former Reds captain Steven Gerrard.
Labelled a one-season wonder by critics after registering an incredible 44 goals in his maiden campaign for Liverpool, Salah has never scored fewer than 23 goals in any one season.
His total for Liverpool currently stands at 140 in 215 matches, which puts him 10th on the club’s all-time goalscorers list after just four full seasons.
He is 18 behind eighth-placed Michael Owen, having played 82 fewer matches, while another 47 goals will lift him above Gerrard into fifth place.
He has been Premier League Golden Boot winner twice (once joint) in four years.
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