Egyptian has scored 43 times this season
No player has scored more in Europe
Few superlatives have been left unused this season in describing the phenomenal Mo Salah, the mesmerizing forward Liverpool fans now refer to as the “Egyptian King.”
He has produced one regal performance after another since his summer arrival at the English Premier League side. But of all his magnificent exploits this season, the 25-year-old’s crowning glory arguably came on a floodlit Champions League night at Anfield.
Against Roma, his former employers, the Egyptian was scintillating in the first leg of the semifinal, putting Liverpool on the brink of the final and putting on a show that will be talked about by the Liverpool faithful for generations to come.
Two goals – his 42nd and 43rd goals of a spectacular season scored – as well as two assists. Roma battered 5-2 in the first leg of the semifinals thanks to the man they sold to their opponents for what now feels like a trifling £34 million ($47m).
“Without doubt the best player on the planet right now,” was how former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, working as a pundit for BT Sport, described his former team’s star man.
“A phenomenal player,” said another ex-Liverpool star, Robbie Fowler, of the one-time Chelsea winger, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp exclaimed: “What a player!”
Social media, too, was awash with posts of praise for a player whose sniper’s calm in front of goal has elevated his team to another level.
“You don’t need to be a Liverpool fan to love Mo Salah. You need to be a football fan …” tweeted Muhammad Syukri, while JAB posted: “Struggling to find the words to describe Mo Salah, the boy’s insane!!”
Stats, stats, stats
Already crowned the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, there are those who believe Salah should be a shoo-in for October’s prestigious Ballon d’Or, an award which has only been placed in the hands of either Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona’s Lionel Messi since 2008.
Is Salah the best player in the world? How does his season compare with that of Ronaldo and Messi’s – the dominant forces of the last decade?
In Europe’s top five leagues, no player has scored more than Salah.
in 47 games, the Egyptian has netted 43 times, while Ronaldo has 42 goals in 39 games and Messi is currently third in the charts with 40 goals in 50 games.
- Salah: 47 games played, 43 goals scored, 13 assists
- Ronaldo: 39 games played, 42 goals scored, eight assists
- Messi: 50 games played, 40 goals scored, 18 assists
- Neymar: 30 games played, 28 goals scored, 16 assists
There is no doubt that Salah’s season’s statistics are impressive, but he must, of course, recreate such form for many seasons to come if he is to match the influence of Messi and Ronaldo, scorers of 100 and 121 Champions League goals respectively.
As Klopp himself said following the first-leg victory over Roma: “To be the best in the world maybe you have to do it for a longer period.”
A season to remember
But like Ronaldo and Messi, Salah has produced when it matters this season.
He has scored against top sides – twice against Roma, three times against English Premier League champions Manchester City and twice against top-four rivals Tottenham.
And there are even more stats to salivate over.
Liverpool’s new hero is closing in on Ian Rush’s Liverpool record of 47 goals in a season, a feat the Kop’s old darling achieved in the 1983-84 season, while he is only the fifth player in Premier League history to be involved in more than 40 goals in a single season (33 goals, 10 assists).
With three games remaining before the season ends, the “Egyptian King” has opportunities to score more, which could mean breaking more records and having greater plaudits thrown in his direction.
Should he help the Reds beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26 and secure Liverpool a sixth European Cup he will also be mentioned in Liverpool folklore.
But should he not even add to his scoring tally in the remainder of this season, the Egyptian’s claim to being the best player in the world on current form is already a strong one.
“He is in outstandingly good shape. He is a fantastic player that we are really happy to have,” added Klopp after the first-leg Roma victory.