LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah's superb form, after his two goals inspired the Reds to a comfortable 3-0 home win over Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Egyptian international took his tally to 14 goals in all competitions with a brace in the first half, before Philippe Coutinho added a third just after the hour.
Salah joined Liverpool from Roma in June, but has already underlined his worth with a top flight-leading nine league goals in an impressive start to life at Anfield.
No player in the club's history has more goals than Salah after their first 12 Premier League appearances, after he eclipsed Robbie Fowler's tally of eight.
"He is in a good moment," said Klopp. "The first goal, the ball was away and we fought back somehow. That is not a real chance from there, I would say. It was a fantastic goal.
"The second goal? Fantastic play. What a pass. I'm pretty sure Philippe Coutinho has played a few passes like this in his life, but it is not often you get it in the box and someone is not offside. That is quite rare, I would say."
- Goals Mohamed Salah has scored in his first 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, breaking Reds legend Robbie Fowler's record of eight.
Salah capitalised when Southampton's Dusan Tadic lost possession in a dangerous area and curled a delightful effort past visiting 'keeper Fraser Foster to fire the home side ahead in the 31st minute.
Ten minutes later, the Egyptian tucked the ball home with plenty of composure after Coutinho released him with a defence-splitting pass.
With Southampton subdued, Coutinho made it 3-0 when he swept home a rebound after Foster parried a fierce Roberto Firmino shot into his path.
Klopp added that his side had needed to take those chances against a team who proved a bogey outfit for them last season, including knocking them out of the League Cup semi-finals.
"Southampton are a really good football team and you need these moments," said the German.
"You need these goals and thank God we scored them. That makes all the difference."
The win helped Klopp's side to remain among the teams chasing Premier League leaders Manchester City. Liverpool are in fifth spot, 12 points behind table-topping City but just three behind third-placed Chelsea.
Klopp was also pleased with his side's defensive performance.
Liverpool have conceded just one goal in their past eight Premier League games at Anfield, and kept seven clean sheets in the current streak.
"You can imagine I am really happy about the defending of the whole team. The last line was really strong in these moments," he said.
"City is obviously flying and are pretty alone. We cannot change that. But we can make pressure on the others and we will do that."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino urged his players to show their fighting spirit as he demanded a response in their next match against struggling Everton.
The Saints were outplayed for large periods at Anfield and failed to register a single shot on target in the entire contest.
"We started well with energy, with shape and didn't give them too much space to create - but we made a couple of mistakes and it was really difficult for us to come back," said Pellegrino.
"You cannot give the ball away too easily. In these moments though, you learn where you are at and we need to express our character."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS