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Friday, 04 December 2020

How Mo Salah led Liverpool's Premier League drive

Hatem Maher , Friday 26 Jun 2020
Mohamed Salah
Liverpool fans celebrate winning the Premier League with a cutout photo of Mohamed Salah outside Anfield after Chelsea won their match against Manchester City (Reuters)
Views: 2670
Views: 2670

Dismissed as a "one-season wonder" by his detractors following a stellar first season with Liverpool, Mohamed Salah continues to steal the show to date -- this time helping the club reach heights they had not touched in three decades.

The Egyptian talisman proved the driving force behind Liverpool's impressive Premier League title charge, which saw them clinch the title with seven games to spare following Manchester City's 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Thursday.

It was Liverpool's first English league triumph since 1990, when they romped to the title little less than two years before the lucrative Premier League was founded.

Over three decades, Liverpool were never short of prolific strikers.

The likes of Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and the great Ian Rush won over the hearts and minds of Liverpool's demanding supporters, while Uruguayan Luis Suarez came very close to helping end Liverpool's barren league run in 2014, only for the team to falter when it mattered most.

Then came Salah, a pacy and daring winger whose timely runs goalwards keep opposing defenders on their toes, to pip all those greats to much-awaited glory. He makes a habit of dispossessing last men or ghosting behind them to break clear before they know it.

Having finished as the Premier League's top scorer the past two seasons, including the previous one when Liverpool came within a whisker of winning the title only to lose it to Manchester City by a single point, he continued from where he left off this term, sometimes with even improved attributes.

He has 17 goals to his name, just two short of the league's top scorer Jamie Vardy, to continue his bid for a hat-trick of Golden Boot awards, a feat only achieved by French striker Thierry Henry and England great Alan Shearer in the Premier League era.

Compared to last season, Salah's goal rate per game increased from 0.58 to 0.63. He also showed great abilities as an assist provider, creating seven goals so far with seven matches remaining, compared with eight in the whole of last season.

He forged devastating partnerships with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in a deadly three-pronged attack and netted some crucial goals, including winning strikes in a vital 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in October and a double salvo in a 2-0 win over Watford in December.

He also broke his scoring duck against Manchester United, the only high-profile club he had not scored against, by wrapping up Liverpool's 2-0 victory in January with a brilliant solo effort.

A three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic barely had an effect on the potent Salah, who scored on his first appearance after the lengthy break and dished out an assist for Mane in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Salah also scored twice with his weak right foot, converted three penalties and created 13 goal-scoring chances this season, according to Premier League stats.

The 28-year-old has once again proved himself as a lethal finisher to add the Premier League accolade to his list of achievements with the Reds, along with last season's UEFA Champions League crown, the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup.

Sky remains the limit for the ambitious Salah though.

"Yes. It feels THAT good. I want to thank all our supporters watching us from all corners of the world," Salah said on his social media accounts.

"You made this possible for us and I hope we can keep bringing you the joy you deserve. Now they're gonna believe us."

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