2021 Yearender: Mo Salah enjoys record-breaking year

Ahram Online , Friday 31 Dec 2021

Mohamed Salah remained as dazzling as ever in 2021, rescuing Liverpool in a disappointing season and setting several Premier League records in the second half of the year.

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring their fifth goal, his third during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester (AFP)

Liverpool were unable to mount a serious title challenge in the 2020-21 season but Salah ensured the team fulfilled the bare minimum as he played an instrumental role in guiding them to a fourth-place finish and a UEFA Champions League spot.

He scored 22 goals, narrowly missing out on the Premier League's top scorer award as Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane pipped him with 23 goals.

Salah then exploded in the new season, which he opened with a goal against Norwich City in August to become the first player to score on the opening weekend in five consecutive Premier League campaigns.

By the end of the year, his 15 goals put him on top of the Premier League's scoring chart. They were defined by some breathtaking strikes, including brilliant solo goals against the likes of Watford and Manchester City that had the fans purring.

He also netted a remarkable hat-trick against Manchester United, the first by any away player at the Old Trafford, as Liverpool claimed a stunning 5-0 victory in October. His three goals on an unforgettable night saw him set two records in the process.

He became the leading African scorer in Premier League history with 107 goals, three ahead of former Ivory Coast and Chelsea marksman Didier Drogba, and the first in Liverpool's history to score in 10 consecutive games.

It was not the only record-breaking day in 2021. In September, Salah became the fastest player to score 100 Premier League goals for Liverpool after finding the net in a 3-0 victory over Leeds on his 162nd league appearance.

In December, the 29-year-old scored in a 3-1 comeback win over Newcastle to match Jamie Vardy's record of scoring or setting up a goal in 15 straight Premier League appearances.

"Mo's records are crazy," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said.

"Since he joined us... what a player. And he's still hungry. He was still not happy for not scoring one or two others, that's how top class players are."

Despite his exploits, Salah surprisingly came seventh in the France Football's Ballon d'Or award. However, he still have a chance for redemption in FIFA's Best Award, with the winner scheduled to be announced in January.  

Contract talks

The uncertainty surrounding Salah's future with Liverpool made headlines just as he was shattering records.

He created a fuss in October when he said that the ball was in Liverpool's court to sort out his future.

"If you ask me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football career, but I can't say much about that - it's not in my hands. It depends on what the club want, not on me," he told Sky Sports in an interview.

"At the moment I can't see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad. It's hard, I don't want to talk about it, but it would make me really sad … Let's see what will happen in the future."

Salah also reiterated in another interview that he would like to stay beyond 2023 but that he awaited Liverpool's offer of a new deal.

"There is no problem but we have to reach an agreement for the contract. It's up to them," he told MBC Masr in December.

"Your financial value shows how much the club appreciates you and that they are ready to do anything for you to stay, but the decision itself is not based on those financial matters only."

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