Salah at the double as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah's skillful performance inspired Liverpool to a 3-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday, with two goals sending the Egyptian to the top of the Premier League scoring standings.

Both first-half goals from the former Chelsea and Roma winger had a touch of class and his constant threat had visitors backpedalling for 80 minutes before his departure to a standing ovation — by which time Philippe Coutinho had added the third goal. Liverpool is fifth in the standings, a point behind Tottenham.

The 25-year-old Salah has now scored nine goals in his first 12 Premier League matches, breaking the club's previous best held by Robbie Fowler.

Salah's overall statistics are equally impressive with 14 goals, all from open play, in 18 matches and three assists. Last season Coutinho was the club's leading scorer with 14.

And this from a winger whose finishing has, at times this season, still been criticized.

Salah, who had already volleyed wastefully wide, ended his club's 459-minute goal drought against Southampton with a superb curling effort from Georginio Wijnaldum's lay-off in the 31st minute.

Salah's second 10 minutes later was just as brilliant. Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk inexplicably stepped forward with Coutinho on the ball and the Brazil international's outside-of-the-foot pass allowed Salah to run in behind and clip past Fraser Forster.

Salah continued to torment after the break with one scintillating counterattack messed up by Alberto Moreno's clumsiness in the penalty area.

Coutinho stabbed wide a good chance before making amends by smashing home Roberto Firmino's parried shot in the 68th minute.

Southampton rarely looked like preventing Liverpool keeping a fifth clean sheet in six home league matches.