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Mo Salah in the Spotlight Ahead of Busy December

The Egyptian can’t stop scoring at the minute, and Wolves’ stingy back line is his newest test

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Mohamed Salah of Liverpool after scoring his second goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 01, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool after scoring his second goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 01, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

In his pre-match press conference, Wolves manager Bruno Lage was asked about one specific Liverpool player, and one specific player alone: the man who no one can stop talking about.

Mohamed Salah.

In the Premier League, Salah has scored 13 (9.53 xG) goals in 14 games, while also lodging eight assists (9.32 xA); he’s on 19 goals in all competitions. At a rate of 0.93 goals per 90 in the league (he’s on one every 87 minutes in all competitions), the Liverpool winger is something of a phenomenon this season, having scored four more league goals than Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (also on 14 appearances) and recorded one more assist than Liverpool teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold (7).

The Egyptian’s goal involvements and overall impact on team play have led to a Twitter trending hashtag of “#OnlySalah,” a cheeky response to the sheer amount of statistics for other players that must be caveated with “Only Salah has more.”

When asked about Salah’s form ahead of Saturday’s match, Lage did not limit his praise to Salah’s current lethal form, however:

Whether he’s the most in-form or not, he’s a top player. Not just what he’s doing this year, but across all of the years, it’s very hard to play against him.

He’s very fast, he’s very smart, he finds the right spaces, so we need to pay attention to him.

While Lage will hope his Wolves side will keep Salah quiet, the Liverpool winger certainly must be reckoned with.

Liverpool’s own statistician, Ged Rea (@ged0407 — well worth a Twitter follow if you’re into that sort of thing), has himself highlighted Salah’s form in a recent piece for Liverpoolfc.com.

While Mo Salah is due a rest — at 2020 minutes, he has played more than any other outfield player on the squad this season, despite being substituted in six of his 23 starts — he is nearing a fun new record per Rea:

Salah needs one goal to reach 20 for the season in all competitions. If he scores it before December 15 he will reach the landmark for the club in the third-fastest time by date – behind only Ian Rush (November 6, 1986) and Roger Hunt (November 25, 1961).

Salah might also be interested to know that no Liverpool player has ever scored a hat trick against Wolverhampton Wanderers in any competition, and though it will be Diogo Jota’s birthday tomorrow, you wouldn’t bet against Salah making that history himself.

A lot of the buzz around the Egyptian stems from his production as well as his consistency: currently on 19 goals in all competitions, he is on form for a 35-goal-plus league season, and looks frankly frightening to play against.

While he came in seventh in last year’s Ballon d’Or race, there’s already been chatter about what he might achieve this season (presumably given Liverpool and/or Egypt secure some silverware), and even those without red-tinted glasses are willing to acknowledge that his present form has been something else (see Alex Stewart of The Athletic’s TiFO podcast, below, responding to a question from Maram AlBaharna of Maram per 90; the two support Southampton and Manchester United, respectively).

It has been suggested that this uptick in form (which, it should be said, has been echoed in the better form of Sadio Mané as well) might be tied to the level of rest he was able to have over the summer break — something he’d been unable to have previously.

If this is the case, Salah’s glittering form thus far this season is as good an argument as any that the powers that be might consider prioritizing player well-being over maximizing the schedule of matches, something his manager would certainly approve of.


xG and xA data used in this article courtesy of Instat.

My apologies if this write-up causes Klopp to rest Salah for Wolves. It does certainly feel inevitable...