Mohamed Salah scores fastest hat-trick in Champions League with Liverpool Crush Rangers

Jurgen Klopp said spirits were lifted at Liverpool after Mohamed Salah came off the bench to score the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history in Rangers’ 7-1 demolition at Ibrox on Wednesday. Having won just four of their first 11 games of the season, the Reds fell behind for the eighth time this season as Scott Arfield gave the Glasgow giants an early lead. But Rangers are being coached for the first time in 12 years on their return to the Champions League as they collapsed to a record-breaking European defeat in the second half.

The Glasgow giants remain without a point and have conceded 16 goals in four games.

“The first half and the last half hour was day and night,” said Van Bronckhorst. “I can not explain.

“The performance was not what we want to represent this club.”

Roberto Firmino’s brace on either side of the half turned the game before Brazil’s Darwin Nunez scored to end the contest.

Klopp had left Salah, Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota on the bench with one eye on Sunday’s clash against Manchester City in the Premier League.

But they came on as a substitute in the last quarter and Salah didn’t miss a chance to cash against a beleaguered Rangers defence.

The Egyptian’s treble achieved in just six minutes and 12 seconds, beating the previous record set by Bafetimbi Gomis in Lyon’s 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in 2011.

“It definitely changes the mood, and that’s a good thing,” said Klopp. “We all know who’s coming on Sunday. It’s going to be different, but it’s better to go in with the feeling of tonight.

“If we play to our potential, we’re a pretty good football team. We showed that tonight.”

Harvey Elliott rounded off the goal on a sobering night for a Rangers side who had reached the Europa League final just months before.

A draw in Amsterdam is enough for Liverpool to finish in the last 16 against Ajax in two weeks time.

But Napoli remain ahead of Group A after a 4-2 win over Ajax sealed their place in the knockout rounds.

Usual slow start

Klopp’s team selection came in part in response to the injury-related loss of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Luis Diaz in a 3-2 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday that left the Reds already 14 points adrift of Premier League leaders.

The visitors have adopted slow starts this season and were caught off guard again when Arfield’s run was not pursued from midfield and the former Canada international struck a brilliant finish to find the bottom corner.

Fortunately for last season’s Champions League finalists, Rangers’ own defensive weaknesses were revealed in the 24th-minute equaliser.

Not for the first time this season, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men defended softly from a set piece when Firmino faced the simple task of nodding in Kostas Tsimikas’ corner.

Liverpool shifted through the gears after the break, with Firmino once again failing to do any damage to their case of landing a contract beyond the end of this season.

Firmino scored his eighth goal of the season after a lovely low cross from Joe Gomez and then met Nunez as the Uruguayan scored another much-needed goal for his lackluster confidence by rolling past Allan McGregor into the far corner.

The Rangers goalkeeper, 40, has shown heroics to keep the result low as Liverpool won the first clash between the sides 2-0 at Anfield last week.

But McGregor’s age showed when Salah came off the bench to end his open-game goal drought in style.

Salah fired in from a tight angle before catching McGregor at his near post and then completing his hat-trick with a magnificent left-footed finish.

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The pain wasn’t there for Rangers as Elliott swept home the rebound after McGregor Jota denied and a VAR review overturned the linesman’s original decision to rule the goal out for offside.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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