Bournemouth: Liverpool maintained their best start to the season as Mohammad 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 on Saturday.
Salah set them on their way in the 25th minute, latching on to the rebound after Roberto Firmino’s 30-metre shot was palmed into his path by Asmir Begovic, even though television replays showed the Egyptian to be marginally offside when he pounced.
There was no argument about his second straight after the interval when Firmino again freed him to maraud on goal and fire into the corner, with the help of the slightest nick off Nathan Ake’s heel.
After the unfortunate Steve Cook diverted Andy Robertson’s cross past Begovic for an own goal, Salah worked his real magic, outmuscling Cook to get to Adam Lallana’s through ball before dancing nimbly around Begovic and slotting home.
Mo scored a fantastic second goal. He did brilliantly and the fourth one was brilliant, completely calm. Then Adam [Lallana] and [Sadio] Mane come on and we played brilliant football that was exactly as we wanted.
Salah’s treble at the Vitality Stadium put him on 10 goals for the season, matching Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the top of the scoring charts that he dominated last season.
Against tough, seventh-placed opponents, Jurgen Klopp’s side went a 17th straight league match unbeaten, equalling their club record set 10 years ago, and emulated their 4-0 thrashing of the Cherries in the corresponding fixture last season.
It put Liverpool a point clear of Manchester City at the summit on 42 points, though Pep Guardiola’s men had the chance to regain top spot later when they visited Chelsea.
10goalsSalah’s treble put him at the top of the season’s scoring chart
“I scored three goals, we went top of the table and we kept a clean sheet,” said the Egyptian Salah. “It was a fantastic result. I enjoyed the last one the most. I was calm.
“I know everyone has high expectations for me but the most important thing is to win each game and that we are top of the table.”
Salah was named man of the match but refused to accept the reward, and instead he gave it to James Milner to mark his 500th Premier League appearance. “I have to congratulate him for his amazing career,” Salah said of Milner. “I hope I have more games like this in my career, but I will not take the award from him.”
Reds manager Klopp was delighted too.
“It was a very mature game,” he told Sky Sports. “It was a very controlled first half, we scored a goal and controlled the game. We were not completely happy with the rhythm. We made changes and wanted to do more but there was a lot of good counter pressing.
“Mo scored a fantastic second goal. He did brilliantly and the fourth one was brilliant, completely calm. Then Adam [Lallana] and [Sadio] Mane come on and we played brilliant football that was exactly as we wanted.
“Bournemouth have had a really good season, coming here, winning in the manner we did was quite special.
“Salah was absolutely brilliant. From the first moment if he could play in behind was there. He was on fire. It is nice for him to score three goals. We know how big his desire is.”
AFC Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4
Arsenal v Huddersfield
Burnley v Brighton
Cardiff v Southampton
Manchester United v Fulham
West Ham v Crystal Palace
Chelsea v Manchester City
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur