The Egyptian right-winger is one of the most influential footballers right now on this planet. A constant advocate for women’s rights in the Middle East, Mohamed Salah is a key cog for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team. He alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have undoubtedly made Liverpool’s attacking trident the most devastating one in entire Europe. Signed from Roma for £36.9 million, Salah is one of the most important reasons for Liverpool’s turnarounds from being a regular Europa League side to now a Champions League winner.
Salah broke nearly all individual records in his first season at Liverpool. He scored a record-breaking 43 goals in the entire season which made him the second-highest Liverpool goal-scorer in an entire season, only behind Ian Rush. He became the Premier League’s all-time top goal scorer in an entire season after scoring 32 goals throughout the season. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard stated we are witnessing the start of greatness” and he had all rights to say so because Salah’s impact in the Premier League and for Liverpool was by far better than anything that the Liverpool supporters could have expected even in their wildest dreams. However, the season didn’t end in a high for Salah as he was injured by Sergio Ramos in the UEFA Champions League Final which played a crucial role in Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final.
Individual success followed side by side after such a record-breaking season. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year and was made the PFA Player’s Player of the Year. He was even named on the three-man shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player and won the Puskas Award for his goal against Everton in Anfield. Salah soon signed a fully deserved new long-term contract with Liverpool. This was meant to be a statement of intent in terms of Liverpool’s status in world football and how they would be fighting for European dominance soon after.
Payback in absolute grandeur:
The finish to the 2017 season was an extremely painful one for Salah and the entire Liverpool community. However, he turned his misfortune around helping Liverpool have a very successful 2018-19 season where they managed to win the Champions League defeating Tottenham by 2-0 in the Champions League final and also managed to finish second in the Premier League standings even though they had lost only one match throughout the entire season. He scored a total of 22 goals and recorded 11 assists in the Premier League and became the fastest Liverpool player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League, and fourth fastest overall. He did win the Golden Boot in the Premier League again this season, but it was shared by two other players including his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His goal tally certainly fell off a bit since he had scored 10 more goals in the previous season. His goal tally in the Champions League also fell off since he scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists in this edition whereas he had managed to score a total of 10 assists and recorded 5 assists in the earlier edition of the Champions League. He was managing 0.61 goals per 90 minutes in the 2018-19 season whereas he was managing a whopping 0.99 goals per 90 minutes the previous season itself. The rate he provided assists also fell off a bit since he managed 0.22 assists per 90 minutes this season compared to 0.31 assists which he did last season.
However, he provided many memorable moments for the Liverpool fans to enjoy. Salah was a one-season wonder according to many opposition fans because he burst into the limelight in 2017 after signing for Liverpool but consistent performances this year too meant that the one-season wonder tag would have to be removed from Salah’s name. He endured a tumultuous start to the 2018 season since he was only able to score 3 goals in his first 11 goals and people were worried whether he was facing the “second-season syndrome”. It was mostly because Jurgen Klopp changed the formation of Liverpool to 4-2-3-1 where Salah had to play as the striker, which Salah didn’t have prior experience in. Salah’s lack of height also made it easy for defenders to mark him out hence, making Salah’s life much tougher. Him playing as a striker certainly meant that his goal-scoring prolificacy went down a bit, but this certainly helped Liverpool out because his goals were pivotal on how the results would turn out to be for them. 11 of the 27 goals were the opening goals which helped Liverpool go 1-0 up. His goal against Napoli where he scored with his weaker foot from the tightest of angles shows his mentality because Liverpool had to win the game at no cost to make it to the knockouts of the Champions League.
Salah’s all-round game had improved by miles in the season. In his debut season, he wasn’t involved in the game fully from the start to finish which certainly can’t be said this time around. He became a more well-rounded and influential player after the 2018 season. He started attacks by himself and dropping into the midfield which he didn’t the previous year where he waited for others to pick up the pace and he would finish the chances with utmost precision. He showed that he possessed an exemplary vision when he assisted Sadio Mane in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Bayern Munich. He also earned his team a total of five penalties after being fouled by defenders, although it is highly debatable whether they were actual fouls or dives inside the penalty box.
The 2019/20 Season:
Salah has set a high bar for himself. Currently, he stands with 9 goals and 5 assists in just 15 matches so far. Salah’s start to this season hasn’t been that poor since he has managed to record 6 goals and 3 assists in his first 10 Premier League and UCL matches. This record is by far better than any start that Salah has ever made. In his 2017-18 season, he had 6 goals and 1 assist at the same stage. His next best-ever start comes when he used to play for Al Mokawloon Al Arab in Egypt where he recorded 4 goals and 3 assists.
When it comes to points earned due to his contributions, this season yet again Salah has shown that he is having his most productive start ever to any season. He has earned 7 points for his team in the Champions League and Premier League in his first 10 games (not counting the Community Shield and the UEFA Super Cup). Yet again his next best productive start in a season came in his debut Liverpool season where he helped his team get 5 points at the same stage.
Proving doubters wrong:
There is one thing that Salah has been consistent in except for scoring goals which is proving his doubters wrong. There were multiple people all around the world who considered Salah as “one-season wonder” and that he suffers from “purple patches” from time to time. However, he has proved people wrong every single time. This season too people have been quick to jump on the Salah criticism boat which is absolutely wrong because of the fact that since last season Salah has jumped from being a lethal goal scorer to a talismanic figure of Liverpool who has helped the team see out matches and also score goals. Not considering Salah as one of the best players in the world right now should be a punishable offence. He has proved his critics wrong multiple times and will definitely continue this trend for this season and the next too.