Mohamed Salah ‘committed’ as Liverpool hint at Premier League title challenge

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah Darwin Nunez celebrate after an own goal from Aston Villa's Matty Cash during their Premier League game at Anfield on Sunday

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah Darwin Nunez celebrate after an own goal from Aston Villa's Matty Cash during their Premier League game at Anfield on Sunday. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Published Sep 3, 2023


Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Mohamed Salah wants to remain at Anfield after scoring in a dominant 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

Dominik Szoboszlai, with his first goal for the club, and Matty Cash's own goal put the Reds in command before Salah added a third after half-time.

Liverpool reportedly turned down an offer worth up to £150 million ($189 million) from Saudi side Al-Ittihad for Salah this week.

"I never had any doubt about his commitment to this club," said Klopp after Salah scored his 188th goal for the 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."

Victory takes the Reds to within two points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

But it was the manner of victory and a return of 10 points from a tricky opening four games of the new season that will have Liverpool fans dreaming of a title challenge once more.

Either side of Liverpool's first title in 30 years in 2020, Klopp's men missed out on the title to City twice by a solitary point in 2019 and 2022.

However, last season they slumped to fifth in the Premier League to miss out on Champions League football for the first time in seven years.

A return to the top four looked like it could be the limit of Liverpool's ambitions for the new campaign after a difficult summer in the transfer market led them to miss out on a number of targets.

Klopp has had to completely rebuild his midfield, but new signings Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have slotted in with ease.

"Absolutely it was a top game, best for a while," added Klopp. "I don't know when it was last that convincing."

Salah was a constant threat and there is little doubting Liverpool's firepower up front with Darwin Nunez now finding his feet after a difficult first season.

Nunez was rewarded for his match-winning contribution off the bench with two goals away to Newcastle last weekend with his first start of the season.

Alexander-Arnold sets the tone

The Uruguayan's pace and power consistently exposed the Villa defence but it was from a set-piece that the home side broke the deadlock after just three minutes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner came out to the edge of the box where Szoboszlai arrowed a powerful shot into the far corner on his weaker left foot.

Alexander-Arnold controlled the game from his new role at the base of the Liverpool midfield when in possession.

Captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk, it was his pass that started the move for the second goal.

Salah squared for Nunez, who should have scored himself, but when his shot came back off the post, the ball ricocheted in off the unfortunate Cash.

Villa had lost just seven Premier League games in 28 under Unai Emery.

But just as in the 5-1 thrashing they suffered at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the season, their high defensive line was easily picked off.

"The first half was key. They were clinical," said Emery. "Maybe we were a little weak in some actions and that was key in the first half."

Salah remains indispensable if Liverpool are to hold any hope of reeling in City for a 20th English top-flight title and got the goal his performance deserved on 55 minutes.

Villa failed to deal with another corner and Salah converted Nunez's flick-on at the back post.