Mohamed Salah continued an incredible winning streak in the Premier League, as Liverpool’s 2-0 win at West Ham completed a rare clean sweep.
After criticism of his approach in the 2-1 win at Wolves last time out in the league, Salah scored one and assisted another in a fine display at the Reds triumphed in east London.
His strike came from the penalty spot, following a clumsy foul on Divock Origi, while his assist was a brilliant outside-of-the-boot pass to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as part of a lightning break.
The result saw Liverpool go 19 points clear of Man City at the top of the league, on a night when Pep Guardiola’s side took another step in their most likely route to silverware this season by reaching the League Cup final.
It was a significant one for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, despite it being a routine affair that is unlikely to live long in the memory for the manager, his players or the fans.
Here is Liverpool’s 23rd win of the campaign in five key statistics.
The Indisputable Influence of Gomez
It would be wrong to describe Joe Gomez as unsung at this stage.
He is widely recognised as a top-level centre-back in the making, and by many fans outside of Liverpool, England’s best defender.
But his partnership with Virgil van Dijk is a key factor behind the Reds’ success, and his displays are as deserving of “world-class” praise as the Dutchman and Alisson.
After the game, Sky Sports revealed a remarkable statistic highlighting Gomez’s influence, with his side rarely conceding when he is on the pitch in the league:
??Liverpool have conceded 8? goals in Joe Gomez's last 3?5? @premierleague apps #Liverpoolfc pic.twitter.com/LRYXyuGGpb
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 29, 2020
Gomez’s return to the side following injuries to Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren has prompted the return of clean sheets, too, and this is emphasised further by a similar fact pointed out by LFCHistory:
Liverpool conceded only 2 goals in their last 13 games when Joe Gomez was on the pitch. Full stop. pic.twitter.com/ygcVvdemiq
— LFChistory.net (@LFChistory) January 30, 2020
While he is still short of the reputation his centre-back partner deservedly commands, Gomez is a defender of the highest standard, and undoubtedly first choice again at Anfield.
Better than the Treble-Winners
Over in Manchester, a 1-0 win over Man City was not enough to secure a League Cup final berth for Man United on Wednesday night, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still issued his sickly brand of delusion after the game.
“I am so proud of these players,” he said. “They have beaten City twice at their ground.”
That may be true, but the distance between United and City is vast, and the gulf between them and Liverpool is even bigger.
Solskjaer was part of the United side that famously won the treble in 1998/99, but just 24 games into the season, Klopp’s Reds have already recorded more wins in the league (23) than Alex Ferguson’s side did in the entire campaign (22).
And for those counting, Liverpool are now mathematically clear of relegation…
Salah’s Phenomenal Winning Streak
Salah’s performance in the 2-1 victory at Molineux last week saw him roundly criticised as greedy, having spurned opportunities to tee up team-mates in favour of ill-advised shots on goal.
It is an aspect of the Egyptian’s game that can frustrate, but it is one that makes him so effective, although Marcus Rashford (5.3) is the only one of the Premier League‘s top five scorers who averages close to Salah’s shots per goal (6.8).
Danny Ings (4.1), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (3.9), Sergio Aguero (3.6) and Jamie Vardy (3.1) are significantly more clinical, but Salah is far more than a pure goalscorer, as a statistic from Opta highlights:
14 – Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Mohamed Salah has both scored and assisted in 14 different Premier League games, five more than any other player in this period. Handful. pic.twitter.com/qk85KCYaRk
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 29, 2020
Incredibly, Salah is now on a 30-game winning streak in the top flight, which is by far the longest in the history of the Premier League:
Most consecutive Premier League wins, all-time:
30* ?? Mohamed Salah
23* ??????? James Milner
23 ?? David Silva
23 ?? Oleksandr Zinchenko
21* ??????? Joe Gomez
18 ?? Fernandinho
18 ?? Ederson
18 ?? De Bruyne
30 consecutive wins for Salah. That’s… quite good.
— GoalScorer Challenge (@GoalscorerC) January 29, 2020
When the No. 11 plays, Liverpool inevitably win, and that is certainly the case against West Ham, with Opta also noting that he has now scored five and assisted one in just five meetings with the Hammers.
Salah is also closing in on a run of 10 penalties converted since his last miss in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield in October 2017, with club statistician Ged Rea revealing he has now scored nine in a row.
Klopp’s 50th on the Road
It matters little to Klopp, but the German recorded his 50th away league win as Reds manager on Wednesday night, in only his 84th such game.
His last away loss in the league was the 2-1 defeat to Man City on January 3, 2019, and he has overseen 15 wins and four draw in 19 games on the road since, winning 14 of the last 15.
That setback at the Etihad was Klopp’s only away loss in the league in 31 games (3.2%), after having lost 15 of his previous 53 trips as Liverpool manager (28.3%).
The last time Liverpool failed to win in consecutive away games in the top flight was in the final three trips of the 2017/18 campaign, with draws with Everton and West Brom followed by a defeat at Chelsea.
Klopp has only lost two away league games in a row twice since taking over in 2015: 2-0 at Newcastle and 3-0 at Watford in December 2015, then 2-0 at Hull and 3-1 at Leicester in February 2017.
Victory over West Ham saw Liverpool complete the set for the season.
The Reds have now defeated every single team in the league, from Arsenal to Wolves via the likes of City, Chelsea, Tottenham and United, scoring 56 and conceding just 15 along the way.
It is the first time Liverpool have done so in the Premier League, and only the third time they have done so in their top-flight history—the last time, as per Ged Rea, was in 1895/96.
They are also the quickest side to ever do so, beating Preston North End’s record from 1888/89, and according to LFC Match by Match, they are by far the earliest in terms of games played:
Corr: By beating WestHam, #LFC are the 13th team to beat every other team in a single league season. Previous earliest by date was Preston on 9 Feb 1889. Earliest by % of games played was Man City in 2017-18 after 81.6%, #LFC have played just 63.2%. Unlikely ever to be bettered.
— LFC Match by Match (@LFCMbM) January 29, 2020
As they put it, that record is unlikely to ever be beaten; and speaking of which, it seems neither will this Liverpool side.