No matter what he does, it feels like Mohamed Salah is constantly playing with a point to prove.
Liverpool’s season has gone horribly off script in recent weeks but the Egyptian has continued to consistently perform at the highest level.
His latest strike helped his side claim a crucial Champions League win at RB Leipzig although it remains to be seen whether this puts Liverpool’s campaign back on track ahead of their GameDay clash against Everton on Saturday – live on talkSPORT.
Friend and former teammate Dejan Lovren believes we are seeing the very best of Salah right now.
Lovren told talkSPORT: “Individually, when you look at the amount of goals he’s scored, he’s doing amazingly at the moment.
“Mo is in the best age of his football career at 28. Maybe he looks a bit older but he’s in the peak of his form so why not stay another four, five, six years?”
The stats certainly back that up, with Salah now on 24 goals for the season. The strike on Tuesday was his 118th, putting him level with club legend Ian St John, who needed 239 more matches to reach the same total.
Perhaps Salah is a victim of his own success. His first season at Anfield was out of this world as he netted 44 goals for Liverpool in 2017/18. However, he’s firing at a similar rate this term as the stats below show, although his creative output is a touch down.
Salah 2017/18 overall vs Salah 2020/21 so far
PL appearances: 36
PL goals: 32
PL assists: 11
Overall appearances: 52
Overall goals: 44
Overall assists: 16
PL appearances so far: 23
PL goals so far: 17
PL assists so far: 3
Overall appearances so far: 34
Overall goals so far: 24
Overall assists so far: 4
He’s not quite at the levels of his first Liverpool season but he’s close. At the same stage in 2017/18, he had 18 Premier League goals and 25 overall but in 2020/21 he’s on 17 league goals and as mentioned, has 24 in all competitions.
He’s out there on his own in Liverpool’s goalscoring charts this season. Sadio Mane is the second-highest scorer in the Premier League this season with just seven to his name.
Perhaps the reason Salah is going underappreciated is because Liverpool are underachieving as a team this season. They’re currently sixth in the Premier League and are out of the title race by manager Jurgen Klopp’s own admission.
But where would Liverpool be without Salah’s goals? talkSPORT.com has worked out his goals have earned Liverpool 12 Premier League points this season, meaning they would be as low as 15th without him.
Salah puts Premier League points on the board
- Three goals in 4-3 win over Leeds (3 points)
- One goal in 2-2 draw to Everton (1 point)
- One goal in 2-1 win over West Ham (2 points)
- One goal in 1-1 draw to Manchester City (1 point)
- One goal in 1-1 draw to Fulham (1 point)
- One goal in 2-1 win over Tottenham (2 points)
- Two goals in 3-1 win over West Ham (2 points)
And yet this isn’t enough in the eyes of some people. Praise in Salah’s direction was lacking after the goal against Leipzig, with talkSPORT host Jason Cundy and a Liverpool fan saying they’d rather have Kylian Mbappe, who admittedly had a stormer against Barcelona, in Jurgen Klopp’s XI.
Meanwhile, Simon Jordan voiced his concerns about Salah’s general play following Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at Leicester last weekend, a match where Salah got on the scoresheet.
He said: “Salah’s contribution of goals cannot be devalued but other than the goals, which I know is integral to the winning of a game, his overall performance on the pitch is poor.
“Look at the third goal [against Leicester], the ball he knocks inside, sloppy. It gives away the third goal.”
However, any suggestion he’s only contributed goals this season were blown out the water thanks to FBref stats posted on Twitter showing Salah has the joint most attacking third pressures from Europe’s big five leagues.
Most attacking third pressures in Europe
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool): 186
- Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg): 186
- Patrick Bamford (Leeds): 177
- Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa): 177
- Jonathan David (Lille): 172
- Kike (Eibar): 165
- Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United): 159
- Sadio Mane (Liverpool): 151
- Joselu (Alaves): 150
- Denis Bouanga (Saint-Etienne): 148
Salah’s contributions to Liverpool are appreciated by other top clubs, with Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge likening what he’s doing at Anfield to Lionel Messi’s work at Barcelona and what Cristiano did Real Madrid.
“At the moment, it is not in our plans to sign him, but it would be a real honour to have a player like him,” Rummenigge said earlier this month.
“In my opinion, Salah is the Messi of Africa and of course he’s got the skills to play in the best teams in the world.
“What he [Salah] has achieved can be compared to what Messi and Ronaldo did with Barcelona and Real Madrid.”
Salah is actually on the verge of eclipsing Ronaldo’s goal tally at Manchester United. Both are on 118 goals for the Premier League clubs, however, Salah did it in 106 fewer matches.
And even Ronaldo’s former teammate Rio Ferdinand admits Salah is something special and will be remembered as a Premier League great.
After Liverpool’s win over Leipzig, Ferdinand told BT Sport: “It just shows you this guy’s standards that he’s set are just so high but he’s maintaining it.
“For top players it’s not about one season or two seasons, it’s about maintaining it over a course of three, four or five seasons and he’s doing that.
“He’s going to go down as one of the best to play in the Premier League, definitely as a goalscorer, because those levels are huge.”
The mark of a great really comes when you’re appreciated by your rivals, although Liverpool’s Merseyside neighbours hope they won’t be seeing the side to Salah that is being underappreciated time and again by some.