He may not have come close to winning the Ballon d’Or award, but Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah has reminded Merseyside rivals Everton just how dangerous he is with a match-winning brace at Goodison Park.
On a night where two league games were delayed due to medical emergencies in the crowd, Liverpool maintained the pressure on league-leaders Chelsea, with a 4-1 victory and, yet again, it was Salah who made the difference.
The Egyptian superstar came seventh on the voting for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award won by Lionel Messi, but his form this season has been top-shelf.
Salah continued his great run against Everton — scoring his 18th and 19th goals of the season in all competitions — as the red half of Merseyside maintained bragging rights in the derby.
Jurgen Klopp’s men came out and were switched on from the start. It took only nine minutes for skipper Jordan Henderson to complete a lovely move with a first-time shot from the edge of the area.
The Reds were rampant, and Salah made it two at the 20-minute mark, making a run down the right side before cutting inside and curling a brilliant strike beyond Jordan Pickford into the far corner of the Everton net.
The Toffees managed to hold the line, and gradually got back into the game — when Richarlison played a great through ball for Demari Gray seven minutes before the break, the winger controlled it and kept his cool to put it past Alisson, there was a huge roar from the stands at Goodison.
However, the relief proved temporary. Liverpool again took control of the game in the second half, although they could not convert their chances until Everton and Seamus Coleman gifted them an opening in the 64th minute.
Coleman failed to control the ball and let Salah in — the Egyptian used his pace to rush downfield before rolling the ball home past Pickford to re-establish a two-goal break.
It took the wind out of Everton’s sails, and Diogo Jota wrapped things up with a fourth in the latter stages.
Liverpool has scored in every Premier League game this season and, after 14 games, they have scored 42 goals, nine more then the next-best side, Chelsea: In nine of those games, the Reds have put at least three goals past their opposition.
Salah has at least four games left before Christmas for Liverpool. If he scores another four goals before Christmas, he will match the club record of 23 goals in all competitions set by Roger Hunt in the 1960s.
There were boos at full-time from Everton fans, who will be concerned their team has just 15 points from 14 games.
Everton is only five points clear of the relegation zone, and Rafael Benitez’ men have difficult games coming up against Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester before Christmas.
Chelsea beats Watford after game halted for medical emergency
Meanwhile, Chelsea stayed top of the English Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Watford, in a match that was halted for 32 minutes in the first half after a spectator suffered a cardiac arrest.
Substitute Hakim Ziyech grabbed the winner for the leaders in the 72nd minute, converting a cross from Mason Mount — the England midfielder who had put Chelsea in front in the 29th.
By then, the teams had been taken off by the referee because of the medical emergency in the stands that happened after about 13 minutes.
The incident happened on the side of the field where Chelsea left back Marcos Alonso was stationed and he appeared to alert the referee and the medical staff on the touchline.
That spectator was stabilised and taken away on a stretcher to applause from the crowd.
Emmanuel Dennis equalised for Watford in the 43rd minute after Ruben Loftus-Cheek — one of a number of fringe players handed a start by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel — was dispossessed in the centre circle by Moussa Sissoko, who drove forward and set up his teammate to score.
Chelsea remained a point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Liverpool on a night when all three teams won.
There was also a delay at Southampton, where the second half of the Saints’ match with Leicester was delayed for 15 minutes due to a similar emergency in the crowd.
The game finished 2-2, with the visitors coming from behind twice — thanks to goals from Jonny Evans and James Maddison — to earn a share of the points.
Defending champions Manchester City also kept up their momentum with a 2-1 away win at Aston Villa, thanks to goals from Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva — it was a first loss for Villa under new manager Steven Gerrard.
In other games, West Ham drew 1-1 with Brighton and Wolves and Burnley finished goalless.