Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah scored his 50th goal for Liverpool on Friday night, helping his English club team beat Southampton 3-1 and return to the top of the Premier League.
Southampton took the lead as striker Shane Long scored nine minutes into the game, but Naby Keita levelled the match before half-time with his first goal for Liverpool since joining last summer.
Salah then put the ‘Reds’ ahead in the 80th minute with his 50th goal for the club and substitute Jordan Henderson sealed victory in the closing stages.
Liverpool now sit two points clear of defending champions Manchester City and will remain top for at least another week as Pep Guardiola’s side take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the semi-finals of the FA Cup this weekend.
“We have 82 points now, that is massive in this crazy league and everyone is waiting for us,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told Sky Sports.
“I am really proud. It is incredible,” he added. “We are in the race and that is nice.”
Salah, who had not scored for eight matches – his worst run at Liverpool – said he was “very happy” to end the drought and help his side.
“I think that’s goal number 50 for Liverpool in the Premier League, that’s special,” he told Sky Sports.
“After nine games [without scoring], I’m very happy to score a goal to help the team. That’s the most important thing for us.”
Salah is the eighth Liverpool player to score 50 Premier League goals, but his half century arrived in only 69 games, three fewer than Fernando Torres, the previous quickest to the mark.
Only two other players in the Premier League era have reached the landmark quicker – Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer for Blackburn Rovers.
Last year, Salah was named Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year after he scored 44 goals for Liverpool in all competitions.
In a breakout season, the Egyptian striker helped his club reach its first Champions League final in a decade.
Southampton remain just five points above the relegation zone in 16th place with six games left.
Al Jazeera and news agencies