It was a near perfect night for Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday, with the Reds producing an exciting 5-1 win against French side Toulouse.
It was also a special game for winger Mohamed Salah, with the Egyptian star coming on as a second-half substitute to score his 43rd goal for Liverpool in Europe.
Salah now holds the record for most goals scored for a single English club in major European competitions. The record was previously held by Theirry Henry, with the Frenchman scoring 42 times for Arsenal. Henry’s last goal for the Gunners in Europe came back in 2006.
The record-breaking achievement for Salah was the icing on the cake for Liverpool, which has now won all three of its group games in this season’s Europa League.
Diogo Jota got his team off to a great early start, finishing a fine solo run to give Liverpool the lead after just nine minutes.
However, Toulouse equalised seven minutes later when Thijs Dallinga finished off a brilliant counter-attacking move.
The goal, though, only galvanised Liverpool and the Anfield club gave its home fans a feast of attacking soccer to watch.
Midfielder Wataru Endo reestablished the lead with his first Liverpool goal on the half-hour mark, before Darwin Nunez smashed a loose ball into the roof of the net to give the English Premier League club a 3-1 lead at the break.
The second-half brought more fluid soccer, but Liverpool sometimes look exposed at the back when committing so many players forward and Toulouse should have reduced the deficit shortly after the break.
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher’s poor pass presented Toulouse’s Gabriel Suazo with practically an open goal to aim at, but his shot was expertly cleared off the line by Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold who read where the 26-year-old was aiming his effort.
The host then punished the missed opportunity, with the impressive Ryan Gravenberch adding to his side’s lead after 65 minutes.
The midfiedler’s goal came after a comical moment for Reds striker Nunez, who should have scored himself after rounding goalkeeper Guillaume Restes, only to fire his shot against the post with an open goal gaping.
Fortunately for Nunez, the rebound saved his blushes as it fell to Gravenberch who made no mistake with his effort.
Jurgen Klopp happy
The Toulouse keeper was kept very busy throughout the match and was given no rest in the final moments.
Salah was introduced to the game in the 70th minute and found the net himself in stoppage time at the end of the second half, firing his close-range shot into the top corner.
There were no big celebrations from Salah after his record-breaking goal, just a wide smile that was shared with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“Result good, performance good and especially a lot of really good individual performances, which is nice because it is important for development,” Klopp told reporters after the game.
“The goals we scored were wonderful. I would say the right players scored the goals, all of them were really, really good. So, nothing to complain [about] really.”
Liverpool, which currently sits top of its Europa League group and fourth in the English Premier League, faces Nottingham Forest in its next match Sunday.
The Reds appear to be clicking into gear after the new-look squad took some time to gel in the early part of the season.
“I think it’s really easy to fall in love with this team because it [has] so much excitement in it,” Klopp added.
“We have to make massive steps, we have to grow, we have to get more stable, we have to do a lot of things, but a lot of signs are really promising.”