Liverpool face Manchester City on Super Sunday; Jurgen Klopp said after 7-1 win over Rangers: “It changed the mood completely but we all know who we are welcoming on Sunday and this will be a different game but it’s better to go into it with this feeling we’ve got tonight than any other”
Mohamed Salah scored the fastest-ever Champions League hat-trick as Liverpool turned it on in the second half to thrash Rangers. Liverpool’s spectacular second half, where they scored six goals, meant it was Rangers’ heaviest-ever defeat in a competitive match at Ibrox.
This was a timely boost for Klopp’s men, who face Manchester City on Sunday.
“It’s completely different. We usually drink a beer after away games but it’s that long ago I drunk a beer I’ll probably be drunk after one. Yes it changed the mood completely but we all know who we are welcoming on Sunday and this will be a different game, but it’s better to go into it with this feeling we’ve got tonight than any other.”
Two Roberto Firmino goals sent Liverpool on their way and his clever flick allowed Darwin Nunez to net his second goal in as many games. Substitute Salah, who came on in the 68th minute, then took over, scoring the first of his three goals on 75 minutes and securing the match ball with two more ruthless finishes against the hapless Rangers defence.
When asked about Salah’s hat-trick, Klopp said: “Special. Typical Mo. Very important, the whole thing, how the boys adapted to it, to the positions, to the line-up, the reaction of the boys on the pitch, I thought everybody who started tonight played really well. I can’t think of one player who didn’t have a good game, the two kids right and left wing really good, Fabio [Carvalho] and Harvey [Elliott], and when you can change like we did tonight and the boys come on ready to contribute then things like this can happen.
“A freak result, we all know that, and we don’t make more of it than we should, but obviously it’s the best we could have asked for and I’m pretty pleased.
“I’m always ready for a change in the right direction. We’ll see. We don’t have to make a big thing of it but the best football team in the world right now is waiting on Sunday and coming to Anfield. We’ll see what we can do. It was for us – for different reasons – incredibly important. Now we have to recover.”
Was that sparky enough for you, Didi?
Those were not the words of Jurgen Klopp but you get the impression he would have liked to have gone down that Didi Hamman route when pressed after Liverpool’s rampant showing at Ibrox which ended up being Rangers’ biggest-ever home defeat in a competitive home match. Klopp admitted the 7-1 thrashing had “changed the mood” within the dressing room but is this result going to be the catalyst for a game-changer for Liverpool?
In terms of spark levels, this performance was New Year’s Eve firework night levels of colour and excitement. Well, for 45 minutes it was.
Klopp’s decision to bench Mohamed Salah actually looked a foolish move at the end of the first half. His boys were stagnating in attack with Darwin Nunez fumbling and stumbling across the front line and they were being cut open at the other end. Few would have predicted what was to come after the break. Roberto Firmino provided the foundations for the sharp change in intensity as his hot streak continues.
Only Erling Haaland (23) has more goal involvements for a Premier League club in all competitions this season than Firmino, who has eight goals and four assists to his name. He dazzled but it was his old mate Salah who provided the main story, bursting back to goalscoring form in devastating fashion. Yes, here was a player who has not scored in the Premier League since August 22.
Benching Salah, eh? Perhaps Klopp does know what he’s doing. It was as easy as one, two, three.
And, like the team itself, something has just not clicked so far for the Egyptian. Klopp will be hoping this is just the start, with Liverpool’s great rivals coming into view this Sunday. Manchester City are at Anfield – live on Sky Sports – and Liverpool may have found their spark at just the right time.