Football Features

Mohamed Salah: Egyptian King joins African royalty as Liverpool beat Porto

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:14, 28 September 2021

Mohamed Salah joined an exclusive list of footballers when he scored the opening goal in Liverpool’s 5-1 win over Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Reds went into the game looking to build on their 3-2 win over AC Milan in their first group stage match and take early control of what is a frightening group which also contains Atletico Madrid. Things were fairly open and even in the first 10 minutes of the game but Liverpool started to take control and it paid off when Salah put them ahead in the 17th minute.

Salah’s opportunity came after Curtis Jones’ curling squad was pushed out by Diogo Costa to the feet of the Egyptian, who still had to do well to finish with a defender breathing down his back. But, it was no issue for Salah, who scored his seventh goal of the season.

In eight matches across all competitions so far this season, the Egyptian has only failed to score once, when Burnley shut him out (though Liverpool still managed to win 2-0). Since that match, Salah has scored in each of his last six appearances for Liverpool, the first player to achieve that feat since April 2018 when Salah himself scored in seven consecutive matches.

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But the goal was so much bigger than that. Salah has now scored 30 times in the Champions League since making his debut in the competition way back in 2013, a 2-1 away win for Basel over Chelsea in the group stage. Salah scored the equaliser in that game and would net again against the Blues in the return game, performances that would earn him a move to Chelsea.

As everyone knows, things didn’t work out for Salah at Stamford Bridge and he would have to wait until 2015 to get his next Champions League goal, for Roma, before returning to England with Liverpool. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Egyptian has been a phenom at Liverpool both domestically and in the Champions League, with the opening goal against Porto his 30th in the competition. Before Salah, only two African players had ever achieved that mark in the competition with Samuel Eto’o ending on 30 and Didier Drogba leading the way with 44.

But Salah wasn’t done there, he had outright second-place in his sights and overtook Eto’o in the second half against Porto, netting Liverpool’s third of the night.

Prior to Salah’s third, Sadio Mane also got himself on the scoresheet, finishing from close range to cap off an excellent Liverpool move just before half-time – putting Jurgen Klopp’s side in firm control of the game. It was the Senegalese forward’s 12th away goal in the Champions League, temporarily drawing him level with Salah in scoring the most such strikes for Liverpool, while also bringing up the 20 mark – behind only Salah and Steven Gerrard.

Salah was not the only Liverpool player to end the night with a brace, as Roberto Firmino scored to put a gloss on the finish after Mehdi Taremi pulled a goal back for Porto. There were also a lot of plaudits for Curtis Jones, who ended the night with two assists and helped Liverpool dominate the midfield game.

Liverpool now sit two points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of Group B, a crucial position to be in ahead of their double-header.