Liverpool got back to winning ways on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke as they (kind of) cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Potters. Goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah (x2) were enough to send Liverpool above Spurs and into 5th place.
Jurgen Klopp sprung a few surprises in his starting 11 before the match as he decided to rest Mo Salah ahead of the festive period and gave a first league start to Dominic Solanke. It seemed to be a wise decision as a combination of him and the returning Sadio Mane (along with some generous play from also returning Roberto Firmino) put Liverpool ahead in the 17th minute.
It was not all plain sailing for the Reds however as, in the 39th minute, Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet really should have been sent off as he brought down Mame Biram Diouf on the edge of the area. It could have brought a very different result but the Belgian survived, taking a booking in the process.
Stoke applied pressure after half time and it began looking like it might be another one of those frustrating draws we have endured in recent weeks.
But then Mo Salah joined the party.
Brought on in the 67th minute for Solanke the Egyptian added some fresh legs and an extra turn of pace which was just what the doctor ordered for the Reds. It took him only 10 minutes to have the desired impact as he latched on to a Mane cross and lashed a furious volley past the helpless Lee Grant.
He scored the third 6 minutes after that as he was gifted a clear run through on goal and calmly slotted into the bottom left corner of the goal. Another 3-0 win was completed to add to the slew of others in the last few weeks. It takes us above Spurs and into 5th place, just two points behind Arsenal in 4th place.
With Brighton this weekend we should have a chance to start building some sort of gap between the top 5 and the rest…in an ideal world anyway…see you then!