Salah ended any suggestion he had been suffering a goal drought when he converted from close range after Mane’s shot was parried in the ninth minute for his fourth goal in three matches.
Liverpool enjoyed 86 percent possession and had 12 shots in a commanding first half, the only surprise being that Jurgen Klopp’s side did not add a second goal before the break.
That finally came in the 66th minute, when Mane wriggled through a couple of challenges before unleashing a fierce drive into the corner with his left foot. Cardiff set up a potentially nervy finish when Callum Paterson scored in the 77th minute, but Xherdan Shaqiri and Mane put the game to bed with late efforts.
Liverpool, still unbeaten and winner of eight of its 10 matches, has 26 points — three clear of champion Manchester City which will reclaim top spot if it beats Tottenham Hotspur on Monday. “I don’t think Cardiff have lost by big margins very much,” Klopp told reporters. “Maybe the City game, but no other. It is a very good team and will cause problems. Pretty much what we expected. I have a lot of respect for it and what it does.” Liverpool — many people’s tip to pose the strongest challenge to City this season — is 10 points better off than it was at the same stage of last season.
However, a better measure of its improvement, during which it has matched its best start to a Premier League campaign, is likely to come in its next fixture, at in-from Arsenal — winner of 11 straight games in all competitions. Neil Warnock’s Cardiff side remains 17th with just five points from its opening 10 matches.
Warnock told reporters: “It’s been hard for us against these teams. That bit of quality makes the difference. The rest of the season will be decided on what we do in the remaining games away from the top six.”