Liverpool extended their winning run to three games with a thumping 4-1 victory over Cardiff City. The Reds were dominant throughout the first half as well as the early parts of the second half even though Mohamed Salah’s early goal was the only difference between the two sides for a large period of the game.
However, Sadio Mane scored a brace in the second half while substitute Xherdan Shaqiri also netted once as Callum Paterson’s goal in the 77th minute only proved to be a mere consolation for Cardiff City.
Here are the three key talking points from Liverpool’s huge win over the Bluebirds this afternoon.
Mohamed Salah back in his groove
After a mixed start to the season with some fans questioning his goalscoring exploits, Mohamed Salah seems to have returned to his old habits following the end of the international break and it was certainly evident this afternoon. The Egyptian terrorized the Cardiff defence with his neat movements and mazy runs in the final third.
However, what will surely please the Liverpool fans is the fact that Salah has returned to his goalscoring groove, of late. Including the early-opener against Cardiff, the former AS Roma superstar has now netted four goals in three matches in all competitions, which is a timely boost for the Reds, especially with Roberto Firmino struggling to capitalise on his excellent start to the campaign.
With the goal against Cardiff, Salah has now netted 51 goals in 66 games for Liverpool – a truly remarkable record and the fact that he’s now up and running once again could turn out to be devastating news for fellow English giants.
Xherdan Shaqiri is more than just a super sub
Xherdan Shaqiri had surely got people talking following his move to Liverpool in the summer. The Swiss international turned out to be a useful buy for the Merseyside giants, having made an immediate impact in games after coming on as a substitute.
Indeed, Shaqiri has featured in five league games for Liverpool this season, three of which originated from the bench and today was no different. The former Bayern prodigy started on the bench but was introduced around the hour mark and as you would expect from a player of his calibre, he put his stamp on the proceedings.
Shaqiri’s dynamism, as well as his driving runs forward sparked life into the Liverpool attack that was, slowly but surely, dissipating in the second half. And his well-taken goal in the 84th minute raises a question as to whether or not he should be starting more often for Liverpool, especially with Adam Lallana producing yet another listless display in midfield this afternoon.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp plans to utilize Xherdan Shaqiri during the remainder of the campaign.
Cardiff’s problems continue
With the thumping 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, Cardiff City remain pretty much in the relegation scrap with just five points in ten matches. Although fellow strugglers in Newcastle, Huddersfield, Fulham and Southampton have all failed to secure a victory this weekend, Cardiff definitely need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.
As you would normally expect from any side languishing at the bottom end of the table, the Bluebirds implemented a deep backline with a swarm of players keeping tabs on Liverpool’s attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. While they somehow managed to limit Firmino’s influence in the final third, Salah and Mane continued to terrorize the defence with their dangerous movements.
However, the biggest worry for the Cardiff fans will be their side’s lack of intent going forward. Almost all of the Cardiff City attackers lacked any sort of vigour and the tenacity to trouble the backline although Callum Paterson’s intimidating presence did cause some problems for the central defenders.
Thus, head coach Neil Warnock certainly needs to work towards striking a balance with a match against Leicester City coming up next weekend.