Even when he’s a substitute, Mohamed Salah can’t stop scoring.
The Egyptian international’s purple patch continued with two more goals as Liverpool enjoyed a controversial 3-0 win at Stoke in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was lucky to stay on the field with the score at 1-0 after a wild hack at Mame Diouf but referee Martin Atkinson only gave a yellow card.
The official had already angered the hosts with Sadio Mane’s opener, with defenders arguing the ball had gone out of play in the build-up. But there was no doubt about Salah’s two late strikes which took him to 17 for the season after coming on in the 67th minute.
Salah now has 12 goals in the Premier League, two ahead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane, so it was something of a surprise to see him start on the bench.
It was one of a number of changes by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who also left out playmaker Philippe Coutinho and captain Jordan Henderson, and gave Dominic Solanke his first league start as he switched to a 4-4-2.
Liverpool went ahead in the 17th minute after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain released Joe Gomez on the right. He ran the ball right to the line before crossing and Stoke was still appealing for it having gone over the byline as Mane dinked the ball over Lee Grant from Solanke’s nudge through.
The goal prompted Hughes to abandon his 5-4-1 and push right wing-back Diouf up alongside Peter Crouch.
The hosts had an even greater grievance when Mignolet swung a leg at Diouf on the edge of the area.
Stoke wanted a red card shown to the goalkeeper but Atkinson opted for yellow and Xherdan Shaqiri’s free kick was deflected wide.
With 14 minutes to go, Mane found enough space on the byline to stand up a cross to the far post where Salah volleyed home.
Salah made sure of victory by capitalizing on a fumble by Erik Pieters to slot home seven minutes from time.
Liverpool moved up to fifth, 14 points behind leader Manchester City, while Stoke dropped to 16th.