Xherdan Shaqiri has warned Liverpool’s title rivals that he is ‘confident’ that the Merseysiders will keep up a strong start to the Premier League campaign that has seen them take 26 points from their opening 10 matches.
The Reds overturned Cardiff City 4-1 on Saturday to extend their unbeaten domestic run, with the former Stoke City star getting on the scoresheet in front of the Kop.
However, Shaqiri also admitted that the scoreline somewhat flattered the Reds, who were made to work hard by the disciplined and organised Bluebirds.
“You saw in the beginning, we scored very early for 1-0 but it was a tough game to play and it was not nice to play against this team; they are a very physical team,” he told the club’s official website.
“We knew they were very strong in [set-pieces] with big players in their team.
“So we had to be brave all game and, in the end, I think the result is a little bit too much for this game but it’s a good sign for the team that we believed until the end and we also tried to score more goals.
“We fully deserved the win.”
Mohamed Salah got the ball rolling for Liverpool in the 10th minute when he reacted fastest to a loose ball in the box, but Cardiff put up a stubborn resistance and limited the Reds to just a few chances thereafter.
Their opponents looked to be growing into the game before Sadio Mane doubled the lead midway through the second half, lashing a left-footed effort across goalkeeper Neil Etheridge after winning back possession in the penalty area.
Callum Paterson pulled one back for the visitors with a well-taken finish, but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Salah turned provider for Shaqiri, who showed nimble footwork to step inside and pass the ball into the corner.
Mane added some gloss to the game with a dinked strike over Etheridge, Liverpool’s 20th goal of the top-flight campaign.
Cardiff created little at Anfield but were unfortunate to lose by such a margin after what was for the most part a dogged and resilient performance.
Nonetheless, every victory for Liverpool increases the feeling that this might just be a breakthrough year for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who will top the table at least until Monday night when champions Manchester City visit Tottenham Hotspur.