'Outstanding' Mohamed Salah's record 150th Liverpool goal sinks Norwich

Brilliant strikes from Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz cap fine comeback at Anfield

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A place in history beckoned for Norwich City. Instead, Mohamed Salah claimed it, perhaps inevitably, certainly irrepressibly, definitely impressively. For a quarter of an hour, Norwich led at Anfield, where no one has beaten Liverpool in front of a Premier League crowd since 2017, where they have not won since 1994. This would have been one of the shocks of the season.

It wasn’t. There is a normality to Salah scoring at Anfield, but even when he does, it can be remarkable.

He became the 10th player to reach 150 goals for Liverpool, and the second quickest after Roger Hunt. It took him just four-and-a-half years.

“No one could imagine when he scored the first that he could score 149 [more] in such a short period of time,” said Klopp. “Outstanding, a great number.”

The 150th was a goal of direct brilliance. Alisson was the provider. “A great pass but it has travelled 80 yards in the air,” lamented Norwich manager Dean Smith.

Salah darted in behind Norwich’s defence, plucked the ball out of the Anfield sky – “his first touch was insane,” Klopp said – and eased away from goalkeeper Angus Gunn before placing his shot past the backtracking defenders.

It was in keeping with the attitude that has brought Salah so many goals that he could have had a hat-trick; Mathias Normann had denied him with an early goal-line clearance while a trademark curler went narrowly wide and a crisp long-range effort was parried.

Instead, Liverpool had three, with each of their front trio on target. Salah’s goal was the second in three minutes, as a deficit was transformed into an advantage.

A comeback was completed by Luis Diaz, whose maiden Liverpool goal was taken with sufficient elan to suggest it should be the first of many. “He is an outstanding talent,” said Klopp of his £50 million buy.

Sadio Mane’s was arguably the pick of the bunch, a magnificent overhead kick when Kostas Tsimikas headed the ball back across the area. “Incredible finish,” said Klopp.

On a day when he made seven changes and some of those who came in, like Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, struggled to reach the level of absent regulars, the Greek left-back was deputising for Andy Robertson and provided a similar attacking intent. He had twice come close to scoring in the first half. He got an assist instead, courtesy of a chipped pass from Jordan Henderson.

The Liverpool captain created the third goal, too, piercing the Norwich defence for Diaz to add a delicate finish, flicked over Gunn. “Wow, what a pass,” said Klopp. “We scored wonderful goals.” Liverpool – and Salah in particular – were rampant by that stage as they finished with 29 shots.

Yet they had mustered 15 by the break and trailed soon after. Milot Rashica’s first Premier League goal came on a grand stage, albeit in fortunate fashion. His shot took a sizeable deflection off Joel Matip to wrongfoot Alisson.

There had been warnings before then. Rashica already had the ball in the net, albeit when offside. Then, Brandon Williams played a defence-splitting pass but Teemu Pukki lacked such accuracy with his finish.

“It took a front three of Salah, Mane and Diaz to take the game away from us,” rued Smith. A milestone goal for Salah was an irritating one for him. “A great pass but it has travelled 80 yards in the air,” he added. “Certainly there are some things we could have done better.” That is rarely said of Salah as he accelerates his way into a spot in Liverpool’s record books.

Updated: February 19, 2022, 6:24 PM