Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both scored twice after Naby Keita’s rapid opener as Liverpool thumped Huddersfield Town 5-0 to move back to the top of the Premier League table.
After Manchester City took over at the summit following their victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp’s side responded impressively to put the pressure back on Pep Guardiola’s side – who face Burnley on Sunday – in the title race.
The Reds did not have to wait long to take the lead on Friday, Keita tucking in Liverpool’s fastest ever Premier League goal after just 15 seconds, before Mane’s fine header doubled their advantage.
Salah got in on the act on the stroke of half-time and the Egypt forward doubled his tally after Mane had headed home a second of his own, the duo helping Liverpool send out a message ahead of their Champions League clash with Barcelona.
Any doubts over how Liverpool would react to being usurped by City were swiftly cast aside, Keita taking full advantage of Jon Gorenc Stankovic’s error when he slotted in off the inside of a post.
Huddersfield responded brightly – Stankovic and Isaac Mbenza squandering decent opportunities – but Liverpool had their second when Mane headed in from Andrew Robertson’s brilliant cross in the 23rd minute.
Liverpool’s first-half rout was completed in added time, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inch-perfect pass setting up Salah, who made no mistake with a delicate finish over the advancing Jonas Lossl.
Having gone close with a looping effort shortly after the restart, Mane doubled his tally with another superb header in the 66th minute.
Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – making his first appearance in 367 days – would have completed a fairytale comeback from injury if not for a fine save by Lossl, while the post denied Mane a hat-trick of headed goals.
Determined not to be outdone by his team-mate, Salah helped himself to his second with seven minutes remaining, adding further gloss to an exceptional performance.
What does it mean? City challenged again
Having made it seven league wins in a row, Liverpool are in pole position once more. Guardiola must rally his City players again for what is sure to be a tough test at Turf Moor, while the goal difference between the top two has also been reduced with the Reds’ landslide win.
In the meantime, Liverpool’s focus will switch to Wednesday’s trip to Camp Nou, but with their star forwards in such fine form, and their defence imperious, their dreams of a double may yet become a reality.
Friendly competition driving forwards
It seems to be a case of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ between Salah and Mane, who are now on 21 and 20 Premier League goals respectively. The duo sit in the top two positions in the race for the Golden Boot.
Siewert’s naivety costs Terriers
Huddersfield were never likely to get a result on the road, and while they did show flashes of promise going forward at times, Jan Siewert’s bold gameplan of playing out from the back against Liverpool’s pressing game was quickly exposed.
It is the small matter of a semi-final first leg against Barcelona for Liverpool, who then continue their league run-in away at Newcastle United. Huddersfield, meanwhile, host Manchester United in their penultimate fixture of the campaign.
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