Premier League

Salah swaps out unlucky boots to send Liverpool clear

Liverpool's Egyptian striker #11 Mohamed Salah (L) has this penalty kick saved during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 1, 2024. PHOTO/AFP

Liverpool, (AFP):- Mohamed Salah credited a half-time change of boots after scoring twice to send Liverpool three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-2 win over Newcastle United.

The Egyptian, playing in his final game before heading off to represent his country at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), had seen a first-half penalty saved by Martin Dubravka.

All six goals at Anfield arrived in the second half as Salah opened the floodgates with a simple tap-in for his 150th Premier League goal for the Reds.

He then played his part in teeing up goals for Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo as Jurgen Klopp’s men cut loose.

And Salah took responsibility once more from the penalty spot to secure the points four minutes from time.

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“The ones I missed the penalty with I just trained with yesterday. It’s not superstition, because I play with many boots, but when I feel like it’s going to be in my head, it’s out, get new boots.

“I don’t like to be going to the second half thinking ‘I haven’t scored in them’. Just change, make my mind calm and focus on my game.”

Salah also said the thought of leaving for AFCON on the back of failing to score spurred him on in the second period.

Liverpool racked up a Premier League record of 7.53 expected goals, but Salah was not the only one guilty of being wasteful in front of goal as it took until late in the game to secure victory.

“The players spoke at half-time. We have to stay calm, play our football, we missed a lot of chances, I missed the penalty. I thought ‘are you going to be leave for the national team with that performance?'” added Salah.

“I just had to really focus, step up and make the difference and managed to do so.”

Salah could now miss Liverpool’s next four Premier League games, including a crucial visit to Arsenal next month, depending on how far the Pharaohs progress in the Ivory Coast.

But he backed his understudies to keep Liverpool’s title charge on course for his return.

“Without me I’m sure the players will manage to win the games. We have fantastic players, really good quality.

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“Anyone can play my position, can do what I am doing. Everyone just needs to feel free of the pressure to express themselves.”

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