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Mohamed Salah scored on his Premier League return as Liverpool eased to a 4-1 win at Brentford.

Coming off the bench for his first appearance since injuring a hamstring on duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, he netted his side’s third goal moments after making a brilliant assist for Alexis Mac Allister to make it 2-0.

Darwin Nunez had opened the scoring with a superbly-taken chip to cap a wonderful counter attack in the first half as Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders ensure they would finish the weekend still on top.

Ivan Toney continued his goalscoring form since returning from his gambling ban to briefly give Brentford hope at 3-1.

It was a fleeting moment of optimism, quickly extinguished when substitute Cody Gakpo stroked home Liverpool’s fourth in the closing minutes.

Brentford had made Klopp’s team work hard in the first half. Vitaly Janelt dragged a shot wide with his left foot inside four minutes as the hosts made a bright, enterprising start.

Defender Conor Bradley had the first chance for the visitors, edging his way into the box and bringing a good low save from goalkeeper Mark Flekken, who sprang up quickly to deny Diogo Jota on the rebound.

Mohamed Salah slots home his goal in the second half
Mohamed Salah slots home his goal in the second half (Adam Davy/PA)

Neal Maupay had scored five in six games and almost turned provider for Toney after 15 minutes, sliding a clever reverse ball through for the England striker whose effort rolled a yard wide of Caoimhin Kelleher’s far post.

Toney and Christian Norgaard both hit speculative shots wide from range, after Jota had seen a similar effort tipped over by the impressive Flekken.

Liverpool’s opener came from a Brentford attack. Flekken’s long free-kick was cleared at the second attempt by Virgil van Dijk, heaving the ball up from the edge of his own box towards where Jota was standing poised.

Leaping above his marker Sergio Reguilon, he cushioned a deft header into the path of Nunez who raced onto to it and dispatched an exquisite chip over the advancing goalkeeper for his ninth league goal of the season.

Klopp’s first half was tainted by the loss of Curtis Jones and Jota to injury, the latter departing on a stretcher.

On in his place came Salah, and the Egyptian should have doubled his team’s lead five minutes into the second half, streaking clear of the defence and running through on Flekken, only to badly misjudge the finish and toe the ball wide.

He would make up for it with a sublime assist for Liverpool’s second. Salah’s arching ball into the box landed perfectly on the left foot of Mac Allister, closely attended by Kristoffer Ajer.

With one touch he brought the ball down and inside the defender, who skidded to the ground outmanoeuvred by Mac Allister’s control, then with an athletic reach guided it with his toe into the bottom corner.

Salah’s goal to put the result beyond doubt was simple as can be, Gakpo beating Ajer in the air to help along Kelleher’s raking hoof. Salah ran onto it, and his physicality and touch were too much for Nathan Collins who was helpless to prevent him from betting Flekken.

Toney was on the spot to knock home the rebound after Reguilon’s shot was beaten out by Kelleher, as Brentford got the goal their labours warranted. The goal was made by a strong, probing run from substitute Yoane Wissa down the right, who impressed on his return from international duty.

But Liverpool would have the final say, Gakpo stroking into the corner five minutes from time to cap a fine win.