GLASGOW, Scotland (AP)Mo Salah came off the bench to score the fastest-ever hat trick in Champions League history as Liverpool routed Rangers 7-1 at Ibrox on Wednesday.
The Egyptian came on in the second half with his team leading 3-1 and proceeded to fire a stunning treble in just six minutes, 12 seconds to set a new benchmark in the competition.
Bafetimbi Gomis previously held the record from 2011 when he took eight minutes to complete his hat trick in a 7-1 win for Lyon against Dinamo Zagreb.
But Salah smashed that time with his stunning feat, walking away with the match ball in Glasgow and putting the seal on a confidence-boosting win for Liverpool, which is in a strong position to advance to the round of 16.
With Manchester City to come in the Premier League on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp hopes the victory will be a turning point for his team after such an unconvincing start to the season.
”The goals we scored were exceptional,” he said. ”It’s a night where things worked out for us. It changes the mood definitely, and that’s good. We all know who is coming on Sunday. That will be different, but it’s better to go in with the feeling from tonight.”
It had been a night when Roberto Firmino had looked like being the hero – scoring twice and setting up another for Darwin Nunez after Rangers had gone ahead in the first half.
But Salah ensured he would dominate the headlines with three wonderfully taken goals.
Klopp had opted to make changes with his team in total control after Nunez made it 3-1 in the 66th minute.
When Salah poked in a fourth for Liverpool from a tight angle in the 75th minute, it served notice of what was to come.
Five minutes later, he curled in another from the edge of the area and almost immediately completed his hat trick with another clinical strike.
Another substitute, Harvey Elliott, finished the scoring in the 87th.
Liverpool is second in Group A with 9 points with two games remaining. Napoli leads with 12 points and advanced to the round of 16 by beating Ajax 4-2 earlier Wednesday. The Amsterdam club has 3 points, while winless Rangers have zero.
Rangers were left stunned after dominating the early play.
The Scottish giant had avoided a heavy defeat in a 2-0 loss at Anfield a week ago only due to the heroics of goalkeeper Allan McGregor. But in a vastly improved performance, it had the home crowd in dreamland when taking the lead after 17 minutes.
Fabio Carvalho lost possession in his own half, and after a swift break Scott Arfield fired low past goalkeeper Alisson on the edge of the area.
It could have been even better for Rangers when Antonio-Mirko Colak cut out Joe Gomez’ loose back pass but couldn’t find a finish.
Liverpool equalized against the run of play after 24 minutes when Firmino headed in Konstantinos Tsimikas’ corner at the near post.
Liverpool went ahead 10 minutes into the second half when Gomez’ curled cross was turned home by Firmino again.
From there, the visitors took control and went 3-1 up when the Brazilian’s delightful back heel set up Nunez to strike.
It looked like game over – but Salah had other ideas.
”They punished us with the attack they have,” Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst said. ”In the last 25 minutes we weren’t in the game, not with our heads, not with the decisions we made. Against a team like Liverpool, you get punished.”
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup