Klopp maintains Salah wants to stay at Liverpool after Egyptian scores against Villa

Attacker, still linked with move to Saudi Arabia, grabs third goal in 3-0 win at Anfield

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Mohamed Salah was among the scorers as Liverpool outclassed Aston Villa on the way to a 3-0 win on Sunday.

The Egyptian, who was the subject of a huge £150 million bid from Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad this week, tapped home Liverpool's final goal to complete a comfortable victory at Anfield.

The Merseysiders had taken the lead after just three minutes when Dominik Szoboszlai's thumping drive flew through a crowded penalty box and into the corner of Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez's net.

Liverpool's second came when Darwin Nunez's shot hit the post but was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Matty Cash in the 22nd minute.

At that point, Villa were being overrun and a repeat of their opening weekend 5-1 battering at Newcastle United looked on the cards.

But there was to be only one more goal when Salah tapped home 10 minutes into the second half after Nunez had flicked on Andrew Robertson's corner.

It was Liverpool's third win in a row and maintained their unbeaten start to the new campaign that has seen them take 10 points from a possible 12. They sit in third place, two points behind leaders Manchester City.

But it is the future of 31-year-old Salah that remains the big talking point with reports suggesting that Al Ittihad will come back with a £200 million offer before the Saudi league transfer window closes on September 7.

“You know it is football everyone is talking,” said summer signing from German side RB Leipzig Szoboszlai after the match. “We are really happy that he has stayed.

“We are of course speaking between each other but he wants to stay, he wants to be here and be with us. We are really happy – we need people in the team like him.”

Manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated his belief that Salah will be staying put. “He played a top game. Mo had to work super hard and he did,” said the German.

“I never had any doubt about his commitment to this club. You can’t imagine how much fuss the world has made but how calm we are with it. He is our player and wants to play here.”

Liverpool made the perfect start to the match with Szoboszlai grabbing his first goal for the club, when the 22-year-old hit a sweet first-time half-volley on the edge of the area that arrowed into the corner of the net.

“It is a special moment,” said the Hungary captain. “If you score your first goal for Liverpool at Anfield it is always special. I am looking forward to getting even more.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold, captain in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk, started the move for the second with a lovely ball down the right channel to Salah. The Egyptian then touched the ball through to Nunez and Uruguayan's low shot cracked off the post and into the net off the unlucky Cash.

It should have been 3-0 when Alexander-Arnold's free-kick found an unmarked Joel Matip only for the defender to somehow head the chance wide.

Nunez, given a starting berth after his two goals as a substitute last week earned 10-man Liverpool victory at Newcastle, then struck bar the bar with a clever effort as Villa struggled to stay in the game.

But that is not to say Villa did not have opportunities of their own in the first half, the best of which saw John McGinn fire a shot wide of goal after being teed-up by Moussa Diaby.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker was called into action just after half-time when he brilliantly kept out Cash's header – but that was to be the closest Villa came to finding the back of the net.

Not long after, Salah completed the scoring with his second goal of the season and three points were safely in the bag for Liverpool.

It completed a miserable day for Villa, who lost defender Diego Carlos after 20 minutes – a bitter blow for the Brazilian whose first season at the club was a write-off due to injury.

Emery has already lost defender Tyrone Mings and midfielder Emiliano Buendia to long-term injuries.

“The first half was key. They were clinical,” said the Spanish coach, who was hopeful that Carlos's “was not a big injury”.

“Maybe we were a little weak in some action and that was key in the first half. At 2-0 it was difficult but we tried to react, we had two very good chances at the beginning of the second half but after the third goal it was very difficult to come back.

Updated: September 03, 2023, 4:12 PM