Salah captures his moment as thrill-seeking Liverpool move back in front

Mike Hewitt
The Egyptian found the perfect time to break his scoring drought as the Reds once again escaped what could have been disaster against the Saints

Pity those who don’t love football. 

You can keep your Netflix thrillers. Forget your skydiving and your rock-climbing. Don’t bother with bungee jumping or white-water rafting. 

No, for sheer, unfiltered drama. For seat-of-your-pants terror and torment and the moments you’ll never forget, come to the Premier League, come to the title race. 

Come to watch Liverpool, the game’s ultimate thrill-seekers. 

There won’t be a fingernail left on Merseyside if this continues. The Premier League title race is still alive, but once more the Reds had to drag themselves away from the edge of the cliff to keep it that way. 

As the stakes rise, Jurgen Klopp’s side simply refuse to take the easy route. 

In a world of statistics, there are two which tell you everything you need to know about this team. The first is that they have taken more points from losing positions than any other team this season, the second is that they have scored 21 times in the last 15 minutes of games, again the most in the league.

Their latest act of escapology came at St Mary’s, where they were tormented by a Southampton side fighting a battle of their own. Theirs is at the bottom of the table, but they very nearly had a say at the other end. Amid a noisy, colourful atmosphere, the Saints very nearly threw a favour Manchester City’s way. Nearly.

They led through Shane Long, capitalising on a nervy, error-strewn start from Liverpool. For 20 minutes, Klopp’s team were as bad as they have been all season, unable to pass, unable to defend, unable to settle. Fortunate last weekend, was this to be the night their luck finally ran out? 

Not quite. We should know better than to write off this team. People have been doing it all season. This team take the hits and they get back up. They were stunned by Long, but as they have all year, they found a way to win. "Mentality, huh?" beamed Klopp afterwards. "It's brilliant."

Naby Keita Sadio Mane Liverpool Southahmpton Premier League 2019

Heroes emerged, some familiar, some unlikely. It's a squad game, Klopp says, and he was proven right here.

Naby Keita chose the best possible time to score his first goal for the club, equalising before half-time. "A fantastic moment," said Klopp.

And then, as the time ebbed away and the stress levels rose, Mohamed Salah found the goal which sparked incredible, unforgettable scenes in the away end. 

The Egyptian’s goalscoring drought had looked like stretching into a ninth game. He’d been shackled and ruffled, harried and hurried. 

And then, with just 10 minutes remaining, came his moment. 

Collecting a headed pass from Jordan Henderson, 15 yards inside his own half, Salah set off for goal. Southampton had been attacking from a corner, but they were left retreating as Salah ran at them. Roberto Firmino, busting a gut, got up alongside him to his left, making a two-on-one situation. Salah had to pass it, surely. 

He did. With his left foot, right into the bottom left-hand corner of Angus Gunn’s goal. 

It was his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool. He has reached that mark faster than anybody in the club’s history. He’s scored some big ones, Salah, but this could be as important as any. It sparked bedlam. Salah was booked for removing his shirt. The best yellow card of his career, he'll say. The fans will pay his fine, if he wants.

Just for good measure Henderson, introduced as substitute early in the second-half, capped a terrific cameo with a goal late on. It was his first for more than 18 months. The captain’s celebration, face contorted with a mix of joy and relief, spoke for his supporters. They want this, Liverpool. They want it bad. 

It’s still there for them, too. With five games to go, they are in the driving seat once more. Manchester City, who would have been watching with glee for 80 minutes, will have grimaced at the last 10. 

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This team just doesn’t want to give in. Not just yet, anyway. Every time they reach the cliff face, they pull themselves back. 

They're terrifying at times, but Liverpool giving these fans the ride of their life. 

And it's not over yet.