17 March 2018

Liverpool 5-0 Watford

Salah 4' 43' 77' 85'
Firmino 49'

I think Mohamed Salah took offense at last week's performance and result.

Salah's long been threatening to do this to some poor opponent. We've seen a ton of one- or two-goal games, but no hat-tricks. It's been the consistency rather than the flurries, scoring in most games, only going two sucessive league games without scoring once this season.

Today we got the flurry, in the snow flurries.

Four Salah shots, four Salah goals.

Four minutes in, seating both Prödl and Britos before opening the scoring; everyone in the universe expects Salah to cut onto his left so he drags back to his right to lose both defenders then beats Karnezis for only his fourth right-footed goal of the season.

43 minutes in, tapping in Robertson's inch-perfect cross, again with that right foot.

77 minutes in, there are literally six Watford defenders watching nothing but Salah, yet he still somehow dribbles onto his left, into the center of the box, and slips a shot under Karnezis while falling down.

85 minutes in, he unselfishly looks to set up Danny Ings with an unbelievable first-time pass on one of those Liverpool-are-in-complete-control-and-we're-gonna-blitz-you-on-the-break counters, then is first to the rebound when Karnezis rudely saves Ings' shot.

A goal from his pace and dribbling when released against a retreating backline. A goal from a tap-in thanks to Robertson's cross and his speed to get behind defenders. A goal from his footwork and strength when surrounded in the box. A goal from his persistence and unwillingness to even think about stopping, first to a loose ball when there might be a minute chance of scoring, even if it's the 85th minute and he's already got the first league hat-trick for Liverpool since Klopp became manager.

Oh, and he added the assist for Liverpool's third, a byline cross for Firmino's point-blank acrobatic back-calf flick. Now we know why Bobby's been practicing those karate kicks.

Mohamed Salah now has 28 league goals for the season. Only Luis Suarez has scored more for Liverpool in a Premier League campaign.

Since 1962-63, only three Liverpool players have scored more than Mohamed Salah's 36 goals so far in all competitions: Roger Hunt with 37 in 1964-65, and Ian Rush with 40 and 47 in 1986-87 and 1983-84.

Mohamed Salah is only three goals away from tying the mark for most goals in a Premier League season, set by Shearer in 1995-96, Cristiano in 2007-08, and Suarez in 2013-14. He's got seven games left.

Mohamed Salah has scored in 20 different Premier League games this season. He's the first Liverpool player to do so.

Mohamed Salah is the first player this season to be involved in five goals in one Premier League match.

And Mohamed Salah has now scored more league goals than West Brom, Huddersfield, Swansea, and Burnley, and is level with Brighton. Otherwise known as "a quarter of the league."

I have long since run out of superlatives. We're gonna have to start making up new words.

Look, we all know it's not a one-man game. Firmino scored again, surpassing his personal best for most goals in a season. Mané tallied two assists. Liverpool's midfield controlled proceedings, and despite Can needing to go off in the 27th minute through injury – the only blight on today's proceedings. Robertson again demonstrated why he's become a cult hero, not only with his assist but also his never-ending running up and down the length of the flank he's made his own. Six months ago, I'd have been terrified of long balls and set plays with a lump like Troy Deeney leading the line and with tricky players like Pereyra and Richarlison lurking around. I mean, y'all probably still remember the first match of this season. Yet they rarely had a sniff at Liverpool's goal, the closest coming when Pereyra's I'm-trying-to-cross-this free kick pinged off the crossbar.

Liverpool have now scored three-or-more goals in 15 of their 31 league games this season – almost exactly half.

This team is good. This attack is really good. Minor setbacks aside, this team is doing what it needs to do to reach its targets for the season. But Mohamed Salah is absolutely the superstar.


Secu said...

Hello! A good read after today's great win.
I think you need to correct this about Mo Salah "only going two games without scoring once this season". To my knowledge he didn't score against City, Man Utd (2 games), and WBA. Or do you refer there are two consecutive games he didn't score (Porto and Man Utd)?

nate said...

Meant league games, fixed it now

Secu said...