Salah quick out of the blocks to start with a bang for Liverpool

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The 25-year-old provided evidence of the attributes Jurgen Klopp wanted in a wide forward on his Reds bow at the DW Stadium on Friday night


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There it was. The first whistle had only just gone, and Mohamed Salah was away. With Philippe Coutinho releasing him early, and plenty of space to speed through, the Egypt international showed how rapid he can be.

At full tilt down the right, three Wigan defenders - one level, two ahead of him when he received possession - exerted themselves just to try and keep up with Liverpool’s club record signing.

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HD Mohamed Salah Roberto Firmino

He narrowly shot over from an angle, but his little show of lightening was appreciated with applause at DW Stadium.

A lively start to his opening 45 minutes in a Red shirt was matched with a debut goal at the end of it. Coutinho fed fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino, who unselfishly squared for Salah to tap in the equaliser, after Alex Gilbey’s opener.

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In-between his electric run and getting on the scoresheet, the 25-year-old provided evidence of the attributes Jurgen Klopp wanted in a wide forward: excellent anticipation, consistent movement, flexibility, the ability to make a difference in the final third, and a strong appetite to win back possession.

Salah had a great understanding with the impressive Trent Alexander-Arnold down the right flank while also combining well with Coutinho, Firmino and Adam Lallana.

He occupied the central areas when Liverpool’s No. 9 drifted deeper or wide and fulfilled his manager’s commandment - “always be an option, even if you’re not a real one - occupy defenders.”

Prior to the forward reporting for pre-season, Klopp told the club’s official website: “He is a fantastic player, with speed. We said after last season, there are a few things we would try to involve in an already really good squad; one of the things is speed, being kind of a finisher, preparing chances, making goals and all that stuff.

“He brings all this in. He is a naturally fit boy – he can run as quick and as long as he wants. That’s all good.”

Those elements were on show and while the usual caveats apply - it’s a Friday night friendly at Wigan to build fitness - what he offers to Liverpool’s already explosive attack can’t be ignored.

HD Jurgen Klopp

Of course, there are still facets for him to improve. Klopp explained: "He had absolutely no idea how we defend usually, so he was not really involved in this and was like ‘oh my god.’

"He was two days with us, then had to go to Paris to get the papers, then he came back and we thought ‘let’s play.’

"But you could tell he is used to a completely different way of defending. Of course, first situation, nice sprint and then the goal was maybe the most easiest thing in the game, but they played wonderful football."

Given the ballooning fees in the transfer window, recruiting Salah for an initial £36.9 million from Roma is impeccable business - and he will want to continue to prove as much.

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