The 7-1 demolition of Rangers in the Champions League at Ibrox may light the touch paper for Jurgen Klopp’s team and for that he has their two veteran attackers to thank.
Was this the night in which Liverpool got back on track or, like the 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth, a false dawn?
The sense is the former, even if Rangers’ meek collapse was significant help.
For more than an hour the Glasgow team had put it up to last season’s Champions League finalists but then Liverpool ’s class told as a triple substitution displayed the gulf between the teams. Having fallen a goal behind, the Reds soon made their strength count with a landslide of goals.
Jurgen Klopp’s team were not flawless but on a morale-boosting evening there were more winners than losers. Here were the standouts.
That was one way to respond to being dropped to the substitutes’ bench. Rangers were forgiving opponents by the time the Egyptian arrived on to the pitch in the 68the minute, their resolve broken by Darwin Nunez making it 3-1 a short while earlier.
But in 372 seconds of ruthless action Salah may have potentially altered the course of Liverpool’s season.
Harsh observers may point to dismal defending but the efficient, one-track mind of Salah that stood out as much the finishing. For much of this season so far he has lacked directness. Not here.
While many of his team-mates have toiled of late, the Brazilian seems to be quieting all those who have claimed he is on the wane. With a contract that runs out in June and all sorts of speculation about his future, Firmino is finding another lease of life. And while Salah’s flurry commanded much of the post-match attention, the reality was his long-time sidekick had a greater say in turning the game around.
If he keeps performing like this calls for a new deal, amid supposed interest from Atletico Madrid, will grow even louder.
In for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, the 25-year-old was defensively solid and still managed to make an attacking impact by providing a fine cross for Firmino’s second.
A physicality superior to Alexander-Arnold’s was on display when he fairly shouldered Antonio-Mirko Colak to the ground early on. And despite one nervy moment in which he underhit a pass back to Alisson Becker, he was rarely exploited.
All of Gomez’s previous appearances this season came at centre half but he has plenty of experience performing on the right and a defence in need of rediscovering its resolve may end up being sufficiently tightened if he remains there in the medium-term.
Making his first Champions League start the young Portuguese winger was brushed off the ball too easily in the build up to Rangers’ opening goal and he was then severely admonished by Virgil van Dijk when found to be too soft on a second occasion nearing half-time as John Lundstram robbed him of possession.
Such nights are part of being on a steep learning curve and he did grow into proceedings, lasting the full 90 minutes. But if he is to be called upon by Klopp regularly, there needs to be more focus and physicality.
Having not exactly worked perfectly away to Arsenal on Sunday, Klopp stuck to the formation here and for the first half at least it was far from convincing. The midfield of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho appeared underpowered on occasion and the chemistry of a two-pronged Firmino and Nunez attack was not immediately evident.
Does the manager persist with it against Manchester City on Sunday afternoon or will he revert back to a 4-3-3 that suits Salah more?