Talking points: Salah sets records, Firmino's form and Group A situation

AnalysisTalking points: Salah sets records, Firmino's form and Group A situation

By Chris Shaw


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Liverpool require one more point to qualify for the Champions League last 16 after surging to an emphatic 7-1 victory at Rangers.

The Reds trailed to Scott Arfield’s goal at Ibrox on Wednesday night but levelled before the interval and then powered to a sensational result in the second half.

Roberto Firmino’s brace and Darwin Nunez’s strike were added to by a Mohamed Salah hat-trick, netted in a six-minute spell by the substitute, and Harvey Elliott’s late goal.

Highlights: Rangers 1-7 Liverpool

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Here are five talking points from Scotland…

Salah sends records tumbling

The Egypt international started the evening on the bench but wasted no time in impacting the encounter when introduced with a quarter left to play.

An exquisite piece of control inside the area created the chance for his first, which Salah nudged beyond home goalkeeper Allan McGregor from a narrow angle in minute 75.

Liverpool’s No.11 rapidly followed up with a pair of trademark composed finishes from the edge of the Rangers penalty box, which arrived on 80 and 81.

Salah’s cool treble was completed in a total of six minutes and 12 seconds – the quickest time in which a hat-trick has ever been netted in the Champions League.

In scoring three, the forward also set another new record: the most goals for a single English club in the competition proper, surpassing Didier Drogba (Chelsea) and Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) by increasing his tally to 38.

Firmino’s fine form continues

Liverpool’s No.9 came into the Ibrox contest having already matched his best goalscoring start to a season for the Reds with six in 11 appearances.

And he extended that record with a hugely timely seventh strike of the campaign, equalising for the visitors just seven minutes after Arfield had put the hosts ahead and driven the home crowd to new decibel levels.

Firmino shrugged off his marker to meet Kostas Tsimikas’ right-wing corner kick to the near post and deftly diverted the ball into the Rangers net with his head.

Operating in a fluid role alongside Nunez as the focal points of the Liverpool attack, Firmino’s contribution to the cause was typically broad and it was he who accelerated the turnaround by tucking in the Reds’ second and No.8 of the campaign from Joe Gomez’s buffet ball early in the second period.

Just for good measure, the Brazilian claimed a delightful assist, too, his flick of the foot sending Nunez through to beat McGregor and signing off his work before being withdrawn.

That’s 12 goal involvements so far this term for Firmino. Si Senor, indeed.

A special Harvey moment… eventually

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Even an erroneous offside flag could not deny Elliott a special personal conclusion to the occasion north of the border.

The midfielder, one of six players brought back in to Jürgen Klopp’s starting XI, slammed home a loose ball in the closing stages for his maiden goal in the Champions League.

Elliott’s joy was initially tempered by the assistant referee to his right but a VAR review – undertaken as he waited in anticipation with an optimistic Salah – judged there was no infringement.


Another venue conquered

The Reds’ rich history in European competition had not included a competitive contest at Ibrox before this evening’s meeting.

But Liverpool marked their debut proper appearance at the stadium with a magnificent display and added a new entry to their long list of vanquished opponents.

Each of the club’s three previous away wins in Scotland had been achieved by a single goal – versus Hibernian (1970), Aberdeen (1980) and Hearts (2012).

This, though, was on another level and equalled the third-biggest scoreline secured in an away fixture in club history.

The Group A situation

The picture in the group had become clearer before play began in Glasgow.

In an earlier kick-off, Napoli registered a 4-2 victory over AFC Ajax for their fourth consecutive win in the section – one that assured them qualification to the last 16.

That result, coupled with Liverpool’s success in Scotland, means Klopp’s men require one more point from either of their remaining two fixtures in the group to join Napoli in the next round.

The Reds travel to Ajax for matchday five on October 26 and then complete the stage by hosting Napoli at Anfield six days later.



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