Mohamed Salah became Liverpool’s all-time top Champions League goalscorer with his first-minute strike against Midtjylland on Wednesday. The goal was Salah’s 22nd for the Reds in Europe’s top club competition, overtaking Steven Gerrard, who scored 21 Champions League goals for Liverpool in his career.
Gerrard became a club legend during his 17 seasons at Anfield, famously helping Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005 with a three-goal comeback over AC Milan.
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Salah’s early strike set another record as well, with his goal, after just 55 seconds the fastest Liverpool have ever scored in a Champions League game. Wednesday’s Group D finale did not have meaning in the standings for either side, with Liverpool having already clinched first place in the group before the game and their Danish opponents consigned to finish in last.
As such, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was able to rotate his squad and include several young players, which meant his Liverpool side was the youngest the club has ever fielded in the Champions League. With an average age of 24 years and 26 days, no Reds team in the club’s 128 total Champions League matches has ever been younger.
One of those youngsters given a chance to impress was academy product Leighton Clarkson, who was handed his Champions League debut. Ahead of the game, Klopp spoke highly of the 19-year-old, a player he believes has a bright future at Anfield.
“I am really looking forward to the game. I made some changes, we had to. We are bringing in fresh legs and natural desire,” Klopp told BT Sport. “Leighton Clarkson is one of the biggest talents at our club. He is a No.6 type of midfielder, can play eight, very talented, good football-playing boy.”
In the second half, Klopp introduced Billy Koumetio into the match, with the defender becoming Liverpool’s youngest ever Champions League player. Klopp will be happy to have been able to rotate his side, with a pair of Premier League matches set for the next week.
The Reds face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday before they face a top-of-the-table showdown against Tottenham three days later. Liverpool are currently level on points with Jose Mourinho’s side at the top of the Premier League standings, with Spurs in first place on goal difference.