Beating Manchester City to the title might not be the only thing occupying the minds of Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane heading into the final two weeks of the Premier League season.
Both players scored twice in Liverpool’s 5-0 win over already-relegated Huddersfield that lifted the team back into first place above City on Friday.
In the process, Mane and Salah became the top two in the league’s scoring charts, leaving behind City striker Sergio Aguero and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Salah has 21 goals, one more than Mane.
Salah is looking to win the Golden Boot for the second straight season and Mane for the first time in easily the most prolific season of his career.
Liverpool moved into a two-point lead and kept the pressure on City, whose game in hand is a tough-looking one at Burnley on Sunday. Both teams will have two more games to play after that in a title race that is set to go down to the wire.
This was the easiest match facing either of the title contenders and it felt like target practice at times for Liverpool, which is now only three goals behind City in terms of goal difference — the first tiebreaker if the teams are level on points.
Liverpool cast aside any concerns about complacency against the league’s last-place side by scoring its quickest goal in the Premier League, after just 15 seconds, as Naby Keita was played in by Salah following a Huddersfield mistake.
It came three days after Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history, after 7.69 seconds, for Southampton at Watford.
Mane made it 2-0 by heading in a left-wing cross from Andrew Robertson in the 23rd minute and Salah struck in first-half injury time, lobbing the goalkeeper after running onto Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb ball forward.
With striker Roberto Firmino missing the game with a suspected groin injury, keeping his players free from injury was also a priority for Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp ahead of next week’s match against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals.
A hush descended over Anfield early in the second half when Virgil van Dijk went down with an apparent injury. The center back shook his head while on the ground but eventually got up, to cheers from the home crowd.
Mane headed in a cross from Jordan Henderson for 4-0 in the 66th and Salah completed the scoring in the 83rd by tapping in from another delivery from Robertson.
One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance in a year after a serious knee injury. He almost scored, too, after a mazy run into the area.