Liverpool (AFP) – Mohamed Salah scored his first Liverpool hat-trick by hitting four goals as the hosts destroyed Watford 5-0 at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool bounced back from a bitterly disappointing defeat at Manchester United last weekend as Salah ensured all three points to move the Reds back above Tottenham Hotspur into third in the Premier League.
Not only did the Egyptian net four times himself to take a commanding lead in the race for the league’s golden boot, he also set up Roberto Firmino for Liverpool’s other goal as the home side were rampant.
Watford arrived at Anfield having lost seven of their past eight away games in the Premier League, and never looked likely to avoid another defeat after conceding just four minutes in.
In less than hospitable conditions as swirling snow and a freezing wind blew through Anfield, the Liverpool fans at least had Salah to warm their spirits as he took his tally for an amazing debut season at Liverpool to 36 in all competitions.
Salah jinked his way past the helpless Jose Holebas before slotting past Orestis Karnezis on his weaker right foot to get Liverpool off to the perfect start.
The visitors tightened up significantly after conceding for the rest of the opening period, but they offered little of note going forward as they merely camped out in their own half.
The only negative of a comfortable afternoon for Liverpool was the sight of Emre Can hobbling off with a hip injury before half-time, but the German’s absence didn’t disrupt their attacking rhythm.
Shortly before half-time Jurgen Klopp’s men doubled their lead with a stunning team goal as Andy Robertson delivered an inch-perfect cross to Salah inside the six-yard box and he easily clipped home his second of the evening.
Straight after the break, Liverpool went for Watford’s jugular and made it 3-0 as Salah worked hard to stop the ball from running out of play before crossing for Firmino who wonderfully backheeled past Karnezis.
Watford did come within inches of a consolation when Roberto Pereyra smashed a free-kick against the crossbar.
Instead, it was Liverpool, and Salah in particular, who finished as strongly as he started.
Salah made it 4-0 with 13 minutes remaining as he somehow managed to slide the ball past Karnezis after skipping round three desperate Watford challenges.
And he capped off a brilliant personal performance in the dying seconds, thrashing into the roof of the net after Karnezis had fumbled Danny Ings’ shot.
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