Mohamed Salah scored in each half to lead Liverpool to a 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) – Mohamed Salah scored in each half to lead Liverpool to a 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday, taking the Egypt winger to a half-century of goals in just 65 appearances for the English club.
Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane also netted at Anfield as the attacking trio that fueled Liverpool's march to the Champions League final last season combined to hand Red Star another heavy loss, after its 6-1 thrashing at Paris Saint-Germain last time out.
Xherdan Shaqiri played a key role in the win - helping to set up two of the goals - on a night he was whistled and booed whenever he received the ball. The jeers came from a few sections of the crowd and were presumably from Red Star fans who, officially at least, were supposed to be banned from attending the game as a punishment for causing trouble during the Serbian team's playoff at Salzburg in August.
Shaqiri is a Switzerland international who was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.
The midfielder also was targeted for some strong tackles in the first half, two coming in the space of a couple of minutes resulting in fouls. He was given a warm hug from Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp when he was substituted midway through the second half.
Salah is attempting to reproduce his scoring feats from his first year at Liverpool when he found the net 44 times in all competitions, for easily the most prolific season of his career.
He only scored three goals in his first 11 games of this season for Liverpool but has now scored in three successive matches - for Egypt, direct from a corner, during the international break and then for Liverpool against Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday and against Red Star in Europe.
Firmino gave Liverpool the lead in the 20th minute when he collected Andrew Robertson's cross from the left and converted a shot that took a deflection on its way in.
Salah, playing as a central striker in front of the deep-lying Firmino, added a second goal when Shaqiri deftly laid off a pass from Fabinho to allow the Egyptian to lash a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Salah converted a penalty in the 51st after Mane was blocked by the elbow of Filip Stojkovic and was then taken off by Klopp, denying him the opportunity for a hat trick.
Soon after, Liverpool was awarded another penalty and, with Salah off the field, Mane took it. Borjan produced a great save, tipping the ball onto the bar, and Mane prodded the rebound weakly wide.
Mane made up for that miss by prodding in Liverpool's fourth goal from a pass by substitute Daniel Sturridge.
It was a second win in three Group C matches for Liverpool, which moved into first place because of the 2-2 draw between Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli on Wednesday.
Red Star has one point from three opening matches in its first appearance in the Champions League group stage, having last played in the European Cup group in 1991 as holders. The Serbian champion came through four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage.