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Mo Salah scores fastest hat-trick in Champions League as Liverpool beat Rangers

Substitute Mo Salah netted the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history as Liverpool beat Rangers 7-1 to complete a double against the beleaguered Light Blues.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had clinched a 2-0 win over a timid Gers side at Anfield last Tuesday but this time there was more fighting for the Gers initially and they went in with a Scott Arfield drive in the 17th minute Guide.

Last season’s finalists responded seven minutes later when Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino headed in from a corner before scoring a second in the 55th minute as the visitors’ superior quality showed.

Striker Darwin Nunez added a third goal with a fine finish in the 66th minute before Salah struck three goals in six minutes and 12 seconds and scored Harvey Elliott as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side collapsed.

It was less a Battle of Britain and more a massacre and the Govan side remain rooted at the bottom of Group A with no points.

Liverpool are six points ahead of Ajax and three behind leaders Napoli with two games to go.

Those confident in Rangers were hoping Ibrox could help secure a much-needed positive result in their first Champions League season in 12 years and were heartened by Liverpool’s injury woes.

Luis Diaz, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold were added to the list after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by Arsenal, while Salah was benched along with Thiago and Diogo Jota, although the Egyptian would later make headlines.

Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Fabio Carvalho, Firmino, Elliott and Fabinho joined the side.

Gers winger Ryan Kent took over at left-back Rabbi Matondo while Gers top scorer Antonio Colak was favored over Alfredo Morelos, who started at Anfield.

The scene was set and it was the home team that drew the first blood.

Skipper James Tavernier initially gained possession in the Reds’ half and when Colak picked up the ball and put it to midfielder Ryan Jack, he swiped it in the path of Arfield, who drove deep past Alisson Becker from the edge of the box to send Ibrox in raptures.

Minutes later, Gomez’s back pass to Alisson fell short, but Colak couldn’t control the ball and the chance was missed.

Smarting Liverpool upped the tempo and equalized when Firmino beat Tavernier from the right to Kostas Tsimikas’ corner to head in at the near post.

Rangers came back and in the 41st minute, Arfield’s eight-yard shot after a cut-back by Fashion Sakala was blocked by Konate and Elliott completed the clear.

The Govan side then suffered a major blow when centre-back Connor Goldson picked up an injury in a tackle with Nunez and had to be replaced by 18-year-old Leon King.

Liverpool roared from the traps early in the second half and Rangers wobbled before bouncing back on their feet.

However, Liverpool’s pace at the break posed problems for the home side and as Gomez galloped down the right flank, leaving Kent behind, he crossed to Firmino to sweep the ball through Allan McGregor’s legs from eight yards out.

Immediately it seemed like too big a task for Rangers and Liverpool to keep sweeping forward.

Jack limped away to be replaced by veteran Steven Davis but faith seemed to have left Van Bronckhorst’s side and it continued to ebb as Firmino casually flicked the ball to Nunez, who deflected the ball past McGregor right from the box .

McGregor saved from Salah, who had come on as a substitute along with Thiago and Scottish skipper Andy Robertson – he was booed for his Celtic allegiance – and Jota came on soon after.

Salah then took over.

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