Salah superb as Liverpool's history boys show no sign of let up

Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2019-20
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The Reds moved 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League table as they cruised to a 2-0 win over West Ham

He’s no fan of FA Cup replays, but Premier League wins are right up Jurgen Klopp’s street.

So, too, are 19-point leads.

That is the incredible position Liverpool find themselves in after this, their 23rd league victory of the campaign. 

It was one of the more straightforward ones, with West Ham, even in front of their own supporters, offering little resistance as the Reds took another step closer to that elusive 19th league title.

This was about as comfortable as it gets for Klopp’s side, who were in pipe and slippers mode for the most part. Goals in either half, one from Mohamed Salah and one from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, were ample reward for a dominant performance.

Salah, with 16 goals, is now Liverpool’s leading scorer in all competitions this season, the Egyptian taking advantage of Sadio Mane’s absence to re-establish himself as Klopp’s go-to man. 

Since his arrival at Liverpool in 2017, Salah has scored more Premier League goals than any other player. This was his 66th, converted emphatically from the spot after Issa Diop had brought down Divock Origi, 10 minutes before half time.

Salah’s other party piece is to score and assist in the same game. He has done that on 14 occasions in the last two-and-a-half years – no other Premier League player has managed more than nine – the latest secured with a sublime second-half pass with the outside of his foot, allowing Oxlade-Chamberlain to make it 2-0. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool 2019-20

He might have had further reward too, striking the post with a fine, instinctive effort from the edge of the box. Liverpool played in second gear, but they were still way too good for the Hammers, who are in the thick of a relegation battle under new boss David Moyes.

This being Liverpool, of course, there was a piece of history to be made. For the first time, the Reds have beaten every single team in the top-flight during a single season. Not even the great sides of Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley or Kenny Dalglish managed that particular feat – that is how special this team are.

Their march is relentless. By the time Manchester City kick off against Tottenham on Sunday, they are likely to be 22 points adrift. Liverpool have apparently been below their best for much of this season, and yet they have laid waste to the competition.

Go figure.

The truth of the matter is that this is the most finely-tuned, complete team this club has seen. Whether it is Salah’s decisive excellence, the majesty of Virgil van Dijk (and Joe Gomez) in defence, the incessant discipline of Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson in midfield, or the ever-alert Alisson Becker in goal, Liverpool have world-class talent everywhere. Even without Mane, arguably their best player in the first half of the campaign, they were levels above their opponents. 

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Meanwhile, at Molineux, Neil Critchley and his Under-23 side were busy securing progression to the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup, fighting back from two goals down to draw against Wolves. The equaliser, scored by 16-year-old Harvey Elliott, needs to be seen to be believed.

Those players, Elliott included, will take on Shrewsbury for a place in the FA Cup fifth round next week. The treble, for now, is still very much alive.

Unlike the title race, it has to be said.

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