After the way Mohamed Salah played in 2017/18, he was always going to be a heavily covered threat in the plans of the opposition this season. The Egyptian attacker has still managed quite a haul of goals for Liverpool this term but his numbers have fallen lately and the media along with a strain of the club’s supporters have used Salah’s goal drought to rail against the player’s ineffectiveness in Jürgen Klopp’s side.
Klopp sees the situation differently. The manager knows the work Salah is putting in on the pitch. He sees how dangerous Salah has been for defenses to handle. The goals haven’t been flowing for Salah but Klopp is satisfied with the chances the team are creating and to him that’s all that matters.
“The moment we don’t create chances that’s when we have the problem,” said Klopp. “That’s the 100% truth. It’s not the answer people want to hear but it is the truth. Mo feels the same. As long as he’s involved and as long as there’s chances there’s no doubt.
“He’s always there with the speed and this gives us so much space in different moments to play, he’s always a threat in behind.
“I don’t like it when a player goes to a game and thinks ‘I have to score’. I prefer ‘I want to score’.”
Salah’s struggle has made way for a period of prolificacy for Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino. While Salah is selflessly dragging defenders towards himself, Mané and Firmino are moving into space and into goalscoring positions.
Liverpool’s continued advancement up the table, pushing Manchester City every match, is the priority. Who scored the goals won’t matter as much as lifting the Premier League trophy. It’s an outlook that the player and manager appear to share.
“This year we don’t rely on Mo’s goals, but he’s still in a very good position in comparison to all the other players.
“His career is not over. He scored 20 goals this year, so he’s scored 60 in the last two. Wow! That’s not too bad.
“He’s a threat, he helps us a lot and he deals with new situations really well. He doesn’t seem to be bothered that he hasn’t scored in a few games, and I’m not. As long as we work together and do the right things, he will be fine.
“The answer for problems in football is always work rate. Do it again and again, as much as you can, as fast as you can, and the ball will one day bounce in your direction.”
If Salah was banging in goals every week everything in life would be better. But life isn’t really designed to be better so I fear there may be some sort of malfunction at that point. Instead of tearing into Salah for not scoring enough lately, we should probably thank him for not destroying life as we know it by being too amazing.