Mohamed Salah insists he was unnerved by taking on penalty responsibilities during Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday.
The Egyptian was given spot-kick duties on the night after usual taker James Milner was named among the substitutes in light of a new-look Reds midfield.
Any concerns over his composure from 12 yards were quashed in the 51st minute when he converted his penalty with a clinical strike after Sadio Mane had been barged over in the box.
It marked his second of the game after he had fired home from close range on the stroke of half-time to finish off a crisp team move.
The Reds had a chance to extend their lead from the spot later in the second half, with Mane taking over the job following Salah’s withdrawal.
A fine save saw Milan Borjan tip the Senegalese forward’s effort onto the cross bar, before Red Star defenders managed to scramble away the rebound. Mane would not be denied, however, as he proceeded to add a fourth in the 80th minute.
Explaining the penalty pecking order, Salah told Liverpoolfc.com: “We have numbers here so Milly is No.1, I’m No.2, so I prepared myself even before the game for that.”
“I shoot always with the national team so I’m not worried about that.”
Salah’s brace saw him become the fastest player to score 50 goals for Liverpool, reaching the milestone in an incredible 65 games.
It also followed up his winning goal against Huddersfield Town on Saturday in easing concerns over his supposed mini-drought.
Jurgen Klopp later pondered his muted celebrations as Salah venting his frustration over the doubts that loomed over him amid his recent quiet patch in front of goal.
Added strikes from Mane and Roberto Firmino marked the first time Liverpool’s front three have all been on the scoresheet in a game since April’s Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Roma.
Wednesday was perhaps a warning sign that Klopp’s men are finally beginning to click up top again.