Premier League
Stoke0Liverpool3

Stoke City 0-3 Liverpool

Mohamed Salah
Salah has scored 17 goals in 21 appearances for Liverpool since signing from Roma in the summer

Mohamed Salah came off the bench to score twice and secure an ultimately comfortable away victory for Liverpool at Stoke that moves Jurgen Klopp's side up to fifth in the Premier League.

Senegal winger Sadio Mane gave the Reds a controversial early lead, dinking the ball into the net after a marginal linesman's call.

Stoke believed Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet should have been sent off for a challenge just outside the box on their striker Mame Biram Diouf.

5 Live Football Daily: 'A day we'll remember for the rest of our lives' - Guardiola

Mark Hughes' side applied more pressure after the break but Egypt forward Salah gave his side a two-goal cushion with a searing volley from Mane's cross.

The in-form forward then sealed victory by scoring the third with a composed finish when he was gifted a clear run on goal.

Liverpool overtake Spurs into fifth and are two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, while Stoke - with just one win in their last seven league games - are three points above the drop zone at the other end.

Salah delivers value and goals

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Stoke
Salah was rested for the first time in the league this season

A study by the CIES Football Observatory in September rated Salah as the most under-valued purchase in the summer transfer market, estimating he was worth about double the initial £34m Liverpool paid Roma in July.

For once, the algorithms have been borne out on the pitch.

The Egyptian reclaimed sole possession at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with his 11th and 12th league strikes of the season, goals that have arrived at a rate of one every 87 minutes.

Mohamed Salah's touches in the 3-0 win over Stoke
Salah scored twice in just 25 minutes and with only 13 touches

Unleashing his pace and freshness off the bench in the 67th minute demonstrated the increased strength in depth of Klopp's squad this season.

Salah duly made a swift and decisive impact, thumping home Mane's cross - after the former Southampton man had raced past Darren Fletcher on the right - before latching on to a weak Erik Pieters back pass and slotting home his side's third.

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Stoke 0-3 Liverpool: Fresh legs helped Reds - Jurgen Klopp

Klopp's starting line-up - with his biggest goal threat left on the bench, along with Philippe Coutinho - was brave, but the German was vindicated by his side achieving a good result at a difficult venue while giving Salah a rest with the festive period looming.

Atkinson bears brunt of Stoke frustration

Martin Atkinson

While Salah was the key figure by the end, for much of the game it had been referee Martin Atkinson.

The official left the pitch at the end of the first half surrounded by security staff and the focus of camera lenses and jeers from the home crowd.

His interpretation of a string of midfield tussles and his dismissal of a Peter Crouch penalty appeal irritated the Stoke fans - but it was two key decisions that had escalated the mood to rage.

Firstly, Joe Gomez's cross, which led to Liverpool's opener, was delivered with most, if not all, of the ball having already crossed the byline.

With repeated replays unable to show whether the ball was out, it was an almost impossible call in real time.

Then Mignolet lunged recklessly outside his penalty area and sent Diouf tumbling six minutes before the break.

Stoke's Twitter account was certain it should have been a red card, given the Senegal striker was heading round the Belgium goalkeeper towards a goal-scoring opportunity.

Stoke City twitter account on Simon Mignolet's foul

"That's the key moment in the game from our point of view," said Hughes.

"I just don't understand why the referee and the officials couldn't see that for what it was - a clear goal-scoring opportunity."

Klopp took a different view. "There were two covering players in our shirt. That's the reason, that's the rule," he said.

Hughes under the microscope

Mark Hughes leaves the pitch
Hughes guided Stoke to three successive ninth-place finishes after taking charge in summer 2013

Klopp's side surrendered leads against Sevilla and Chelsea in their last two matches and Stoke gave the German a second half to mostly endure rather than enjoy.

With Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Diouf joining Crouch in a sky-scraping forwardline, the visitors' suspect defence often creaked under an aerial attack.

Liverpool kept their structure and their heads, though, to claim a first away clean sheet of the league season.

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Stoke 0-3 Liverpool: Mark Hughes says Simon Mignolet deserved red card

The Reds were grateful for old boy Joe Allen's profligacy, however, as the Wales midfielder twice dragged shots off target from prime positions in the penalty area after the break.

Hughes will point to those fine margins and the first-half's tight calls, but the direct style that has been successful in recent seasons now has the Potters perched perilously above the drop zone.

With just two points from their last four games and back-to-back defeats, Hughes could find he is the next manager under the microscope if the Potters' nine-season stay in the top flight becomes seriously threatened.

Man of the match - Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez celebrates Mohamed Salah's goal
While Salah will take the headlines, 20-year-old Joe Gomez was assured in defence and dangerous down the flanks - demonstrating how much progress the young England player has made this season after his long injury lay-off

'They've got away with one' - analysis

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy on Match of the Day: "It should be a sending off for Mignolet. Diouf is ahead of Joe Gomez and he would have put the ball in an empty net. They've got away with one."

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright on Match of the Day: "It's absolutely a sending off for Mignolet. It's a sending off.

"I am worried about Stoke, they are not getting any luck. I am concerned for Mark Hughes, it's very precarious for managers at the moment."

Liverpool rotate to find winning combination - match stats

  • Liverpool have now made 48 changes to their starting XI this season in the Premier League, 11 more than Everton - the next most-changed side.
  • Liverpool have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League games, winning five and drawing four.
  • Mane scored for first time in six Premier League games for Liverpool, ending a five-game top-flight goal drought - the longest he has endured for the Reds.
  • Salah has had a hand in 14 goals in his 14 games for Liverpool in the Premier League (12 goals, 2 assists).

What's next?

Stoke meet Swansea at home at 15:00 GMT on Saturday, with Liverpool travelling to Brighton at the same time.

Line-ups

Stoke

  • 33Grant
  • 6Zouma
  • 17Shawcross
  • 15Martins IndiBooked at 65mins
  • 18Diouf
  • 24FletcherSubstituted forAdamat 85'minutes
  • 4Allen
  • 3Pieters
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 10Choupo-MotingSubstituted forRodríguez Ruizat 74'minutes
  • 25Crouch

Substitutes

  • 5Wimmer
  • 9Berahino
  • 11Rodríguez Ruiz
  • 14Afellay
  • 16Adam
  • 29Haugaard
  • 32Sobhi

Liverpool

  • 22MignoletBooked at 39mins
  • 12Gomez
  • 32Matip
  • 6Lovren
  • 18Moreno
  • 23CanBooked at 56mins
  • 5WijnaldumBooked at 63mins
  • 21Oxlade-ChamberlainBooked at 66minsSubstituted forMilnerat 67'minutes
  • 9Firmino
  • 19ManéBooked at 74minsSubstituted forHendersonat 89'minutes
  • 29SolankeSubstituted forSalahat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Karius
  • 7Milner
  • 10Coutinho
  • 11Salah
  • 14Henderson
  • 15Sturridge
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
29,423

Match Stats

Home TeamStokeAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home10
Away14
Shots on Target
Home1
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away9
Fouls
Home8
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Stoke City 0, Liverpool 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Stoke City 0, Liverpool 3.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joe Allen.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Bruno Martins Indi.

Offside, Stoke City. Jesé tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Jesé (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Jordan Henderson replaces Sadio Mané.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Lee Grant.

Attempt saved. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Darren Fletcher.

Offside, Stoke City. Ryan Shawcross tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Stoke City 0, Liverpool 3. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a fast break.

Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Mohamed Salah with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

Goal!

Goal! Stoke City 0, Liverpool 2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Attempt missed. Joe Allen (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Jesé replaces Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Booking

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Darren Fletcher.

Attempt blocked. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Offside, Liverpool. Roberto Firmino tries a through ball, but Georginio Wijnaldum is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Joe Allen (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Peter Crouch with a headed pass.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kurt Zouma.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Mohamed Salah replaces Dominic Solanke.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Booking

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Bruno Martins Indi (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Bruno Martins Indi (Stoke City).

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) header from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City1413104493540
2Man Utd1410223282432
3Chelsea1492325111429
4Arsenal1491428161228
5Liverpool1475228181026
6Burnley147431411325
7Tottenham1473422121024
8Watford146352425-121
9Leicester144551920-117
10Brighton144551314-117
11Southampton144461417-316
12Newcastle144371319-615
13Everton144371728-1115
14Huddersfield14437924-1515
15Bournemouth144281216-414
16Stoke143471629-1313
17West Brom142661221-912
18West Ham142481230-1810
19Swansea14239716-99
20Crystal Palace14239825-179
View full Premier League table

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