Mohamed Salah: Analysing the Egyptian's incredible debut season at Liverpool
Return to the Premier League
Many eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed £36.9 million to sign Mohamed Salah. One minute, the Egyptian can be an utterly thrilling player and in the next, an utterly frustrating one. Salah has the ability to turn a match on its head in a moment or blow an opponent out of the water with his combination of frightening pace and incisive running.
But his infamous knack to miss when it seems far easier to score forced Chelsea to send him out on various frustrating loan spells and eventually offload him to Roma where he managed to revive his faltering career.
Although the winger scored 34 goals in 83 appearances for Roma when the Merseyside club signed him, he was returning to the only country which had proved to be his nemesis, albeit over a very short period. This could have made Salah's adaptation into the very fast-paced Premier League a little bit tricky. But he has proved all these theories as mere fiction.
Proving the doubters wrong
The Egyptian continued his superb season by scoring four times as Liverpool thrashed Watford 5-0 at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday. He became the first Liverpool player to score four goals in a single Premier League game since Luis Suarez bagged four against Norwich in December 2013.
The 25-year-old took his league tally to 28 goals and is in pole position for the Golden Boot, with Harry Kane sidelined having picked up an ankle injury at Bournemouth last weekend. Salah is now four clear at the top of the Premier League scoring charts and although the season is nearing the end, isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
Salah's impact on the Liverpool squad
There is no doubt that he has improved the quality of Liverpool's side and his marvellous goal against Southampton acted as testimony to this. Salah has significantly improved in shooting accuracy also, which forced his parent club, Chelsea to offload him in the first place.
Nearly 61 percent of his shots have been on target and he takes only 85 minutes to score or a goal which is superior to other competitors (Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero are taking 102 and 93 minutes per goal respectively).
His work rate off the ball for the Merseyside club has been fantastic which has completely suited the high pressing style of Jurgen Klopp. The Egyptian mucks in tirelessly with his other two attacking partners, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, to start the pressing from up front and win the ball back as high up the pitch as they can.
His presence has also helped midfielders; the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum, sitting behind those attackers, to also perform better as they are able to play those diagonal balls in open spaces which he chases enthusiastically.
Apart from these, he has also added a new dimension to Liverpool's counter-attack. Last season, Liverpool seemed to have overly reliant on Sadio Mane - whose form has dipped this season - to finish off the counter attacks and suffered immensely when Mane wasn't available to play. This season he has filled that gap impressively.
The thrilling Egyptian, who managed just two goals in 19 appearances for Chelsea before moving to Roma, seems to have plugged the goalscoring hole in Liverpool’s attack created by Luiz Suarez’s departure in 2014.
In the Liverpool's attacking system he has proved to be more than a traditional winger. He is being deployed as the wide striker who often comes into dangerous attacking areas and scores important goals for his club.
The Egyptian just needs four goals in Liverpool's remaining seven Premier League games to break the record for most Premier League goals in a single season (jointly held by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luiz Suarez).
Astonishingly, he has scored 35 goals in his 41 appearances for the Reds - the most by a single player in their debut season at Anfield. Liverpool have seven Premier League matches left, plus at least two Champions League games which could potentially turn into five should Liverpool reach the final and if he keeps this current vein of form, you wonder if could better Ian Rush's landmark, who scored 47 goals in 1983-84.