We’ve been a negative bunch, haven’t we? Yeah, the world kind of sucks right now. And while this 20/21 vintage of Liverpool isn’t as good as the last two or three, we’re still sitting top of the league and in the Champions League Round of 16. This is despite an injury list that’s longer than War and Peace and seemingly every Premier League ref out to get us.
But there’s one very bright spot among all this: Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian King. He’s not quite back to his high watermark of 2017/18, but he’s not too far off it either.
In 2017/18, Salah averaged a goal in the league and Champions League every 91.7 minutes. He racked up 44 goals in all competitions, second only to Ian Rush’s 47 in 1983/84 as Liverpool’s greatest single-season scoring record. Along the way, he set an new Premier League record and nearly fired the Reds to their 6th Champions League win (thankfully we wouldn’t have a long wait to right that wrong).
Over the past two seasons, Salah’s goal totals have gone from eye-wateringly incredible and nearly superhuman to merely world class. He averaged a goal in the league and Champions league every 160 minutes in 18/19, and every 157.4 minutes in 19/20, netting 23 and 27 times in all comps, respectively. Oh, and a second Premier League golden boot along the way.
This year? He’s banging them in every 104.9 minutes in the league and Champions League. As I said, it’s not quite back to his absolute best, but it is a significant up-tick in goals from his past two campaigns.
On Wednesday, he scored his 11th league goal of the season, and 14th overall, in his 20th appearance in all comps. In 2017, he reached his 11th league goal in his 14th outing. This year? He did it in 13 league games. And, yet again, he finds himself at the top of the Premier League goal scoring chart.
Since joining the Reds, he played 52 matches in both 17/18 and 18/19, and 48 matches last year—which would have undoubtedly been more, had Liverpool gone through against Atletico Madrid.
Over 3 full campaigns, he’s averaged 3,931 league and Champions League minutes. At his current rate of scoring, that would give him 37-38 goals in those two competitions. Add in the FA Cup—if he plays in it—we could easily see another 40+ goal season from Mo.
But what if Salah plays more minutes, as he did in 18/19? That year, he could be seen running down the wing for 4,320 minutes in the league and Champions League. If Mo plays a similar number of minutes to that season, we could expect another 27-28 at his current pace. Or, 41-42, plus whatever he bags in the FA Cup.
Some detractors might point to Mo’s high number of penalty goals in all of this. That’s not a completely unfair point. But then again, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been inflating their numbers from the spot for years. And like those other players, if Mo once again reaches 40-plus goals, or thereabouts, he should be strongly considered for the Ballon d’Or.
Liverpool fans have become absolutely spoiled what Salah does on a weekly—or lately bi-weekly—basis. He does not get nearly the respect he deserves, not just from the global football punditry class, but from his own supporters. Instead of being amazed by Salah returning to his goal-scoring best, we just chalk it up to “Mo doing what Mo does.”
So, next time Mo bangs one in (hint: probably the next time he’s on the pitch), take a moment to appreciate what you’re seeing: one of the world’s best footballers giving it all for Liverpool.