Salah had a frustrating evening against Arsenal
Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah endured a frustrating evening against Arsenal on Saturday as Liverpool battled to a 1-1 draw.
The forward impressed with his pace and movement, but he was unable to add to his goals tally as Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding held firm in the Arsenal defence. Yet Salah will not be too disappointed as the Gunners are on a 14-match unbeaten streak and a well-deserved point sent his Liverpool side back to the top of the table for a short while.
Leading bookmakers such as the highly rated YouWager makes Liverpool the second favourites after champions Man City to seize the Premiership title this season. They are yet to lose a game and they look extremely solid at the back, where the colossal presence of Virgil Van Dijk is complemented by the poise and composure of Joe Gomez. The Reds spent big on midfield reinforcements in the summer, and new goalkeeper Alisson has settled in nicely. But Liverpool will still be reliant on Salah as they bid to overhaul an exceptionally talented Man City side.
He forms a terrifying attacking triumvirate with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Both men are intelligent and dangerous, but Salah is most certainly the jewel in the crown of Liverpool’s attack and they need him firing on all cylinders. He has banged in seven goals in 15 games so far this season, and that is a decent return, but it pales in comparison to the 44 he managed in just 52 games last term. He had scored in Liverpool’s previous two Premiership games, and he hit a brace against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, but he just could not find the breakthrough against a stubborn Arsenal defence.
Yet he still looked lively and caused the Gunners problems by bolting down the flanks. He almost played in Mane for a breakaway goal, and he always looked menacing. But Salah needs to rediscover that outrageous confidence that saw him emerge as one of the world’s best players last season. His pace is a phenomenal weapon, and Liverpool have enough creative talent to play him through, so he needs to display that composure, vitality and cutting edge we grew so accustomed to and turn it on in big games.
Going forwards, Salah has an amazing opportunity to add to his goals tally. He is up against the shakiest defence in the Premier League next Sunday as Liverpool host Fulham, and he can absolutely terrorise the Cottagers with his pace and movement. Nobody is running away with the Golden Boot in the Premiership this season and Salah still has plenty of time to defend that trophy. He is third favourite behind Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane and it is entirely conceivable for him to usurp the pair of them as he leads the line with such glorious aplomb for this dangerous Liverpool team, with Firmino constantly dovetailing in unselfish fashion to allow him to charge in on goal.
BT Sport pundit Martin Keown, the former Arsenal defender, was unimpressed by the Egyptian’s contribution in Saturday’s game. “I look at Salah, and he doesn’t look the real deal for me,” he said. “When you really look at him, he was really quiet today. Something is wrong. Maybe the injury he has is affecting him and he doesn’t want to get hurt. He’s not really the same player.” He raises an interesting point about Salah’s injury potentially affecting his play, but it is now up to the Liverpool forward to channel any criticism into positive performances and prove that he can hold his own among the world’s very best players.