LIVERPOOL: Liverpool stormed to a stunning 3-0 victory over Manchester City in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg at a rocking Anfield on Wednesday night.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane saw Jurgen Klopp’s irresistible side tear apart the runaway Premier League leaders in a memorable performance for the Merseyside club.
Ugly scenes outside the historic ground attempted to mar the occasion beforehand when Liverpool supporters threw bottles and cans and aimed fireworks at the Manchester City bus as it arrived for the match, causing so much damage the bus was left unusable for the return trip to Manchester.
Once both teams were safely inside, however, a dominating Liverpool put Pep Guadriola’s men in a 3-0 hole after barely more than a half-hour of play, and it was Salah who started the scoring on 12 minutes.
After just beating an offside trap near midfield, Salah played in Roberto Firmino whose cut-back dribble near the six-yard box seemed to be controlled by a retreating Kyle Walker before an alert Firmino managed to poke the ball back toward Salah who beat Ederson from close range.
The Anfield faithful were celebrating again eight minutes later when Oxlade-Chamberlain, given too much room at the top of the City penalty area, unleashed an unstoppable strike past a helpless Ederson and into the top corner.
Mane then completed a perfect first half on 31 minutes — the Senegal man among three Reds players to attack Salah’s bent cross from the right before powering his header down and out of the City goalkeeper’s reach.
But it wasn’t all rosy for the Reds on the night. Salah walked off with an injury eight minutes into the second half before being replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum.
Salah received brief attention from medical staff on the sideline before heading directly into the dressing room with what appeared to be a groin issue.
Pep Guardiola brought on Raheem Sterling in hopes the former Liverpool man could give his team a spark, but Klopp’s men rarely felt danger as they comfortably maintained their three-goal advantage ahead of next week’s second leg.