Mo’s hat-trick mojo as Reds get taste of top spot

Sunday Tribune - - SPORT - Der Spiegel Yes­ter­day: To­day: (late kick-offs) Ever­ton v Wat­ford (10pm)

LIVER­POOL main­tained their best start to a sea­son as Mo Salah, back at his daz­zling best, scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Bournemouth that took them, tem­po­rar­ily at least, to the top of the Pre­mier League yes­ter­day.

Salah set them on their way in the 25th minute, af­ter Roberto Firmino’s 30-me­tre shot was palmed into his path by As­mir Be­govic, al­though re­plays showed the Egyp­tian to be marginally off­side when he pounced. For his sec­ond strike, af­ter the in­ter­val, Firmino freed him to fire into the cor­ner.

Af­ter the Steve Cook di­verted Andy Robertson’s cross past Be­govic for an own goal, Salah out­mus­cled Cook be­fore slot­ting home late on.

Salah’s tre­ble at the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium put him on 10 league goals this sea­son, match­ing Arse­nal’s Pierre-em­er­ick Aubameyang at the top of the scor­ing charts that he dom­i­nated last sea­son. Against seventh-placed op­po­nents, Juer­gen Klopp’s side went a 17th straight league match un­beaten, equalling their club record set 10 years ago, and em­u­lated the 4-0 thrash­ing of the Cher­ries in the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture last sea­son. Liver­pool’s James Mil­ner cel­e­brated be­com­ing only the 13th player to make 500 top-flight ap­pear­ances in the Pre­mier League era.

Salah even gave his own man-of-the match award to his 32-year-old team mate to mark his achieve­ment.

“He’s had an amaz­ing ca­reer. I have to con­grat­u­late him on an amaz­ing ca­reer - he de­serves this to­day,” Salah told Mil­ner on Sky Sports. “I will not take it.”

As he clutched the match ball af­ter his sec­ond Liver­pool hat-trick, the Egyp­tian added: “It wasn’t a bad way at all (to get back among the goals)...i en­joyed the last one the most. I was calm.”

Now get­ting back into his most im­pe­ri­ous stride af­ter a slow start to the cam­paign, Salah added: “My ex­pec­ta­tions are very high.

“I know ev­ery­one else’s ex­pec­ta­tions of me are also very high but the most im­por­tant thing is for us to win each game and be top of the ta­ble.”

For Mil­ner, it was a spe­cial af­ter­noon af­ter 16 years of ex­cel­lence in the Pre­mier League. “It’s the per­fect way to cel­e­brate it (the 500th ap­pear­ance),” he said. “It wasn’t our best per­for­mance of the sea­son by any means but we were ef­fi­cient, got the job done and this fella (Salah) is un­be­liev­able. He can win you a game on his own.”

Mean­while, Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola says he has re­ceived as­sur­ances from the club’s hi­er­ar­chy that they will not be banned from the Cham­pi­ons League over al­le­ga­tions of a breach of Uefa Fi­nan­cial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Euro­pean foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body are in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions made in Ger­man pub­li­ca­tion last month that City’s Abu Dhabi own­ers in­flated spon­sor­ship agree­ments in or­der to com­ply with FFP re­quire­ments. In re­sponse, Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons City said in­for­ma­tion had been “hacked” and that they were vic­tims of an “or­gan­ised and clear” at­tempt to dam­age the club’s rep­u­ta­tion. Pun­ish­ment for clubs found guilty of break­ing the rules could ex­tend to be­ing ex­cluded from the Cham­pi­ons League.

Guardi­ola said he was calm about the sit­u­a­tion. “We will not be banned, no. That’s what I think be­cause I trust in my chair­man (Khal­doon al-mubarak), with my CEO (Fer­ran So­ri­ano), what they have ex­plained to me. I trust in them,” the Spa­niard was quoted as say­ing by British me­dia.

“If it hap­pens, be­cause Uefa de­cide that, we will ac­cept it and move for­ward.” | Reuters

AT A GLANCE

AFC Bournemouth 0, Liver­pool 4; Arse­nal v Hud­der­s­field Town; Burn­ley v Brighton & Hove Al­bion; Cardiff City v Southamp­ton; Man United v Ful­ham; West Ham v Crys­tal Palace; Chelsea v Man City; Le­ices­ter City v Tot­ten­ham

New­cas­tle v Wolves (6pm SA time kick-off)

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