Masterful Mo Salah!

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  • Post published:May 23, 2023

Mo Salah has gone from ridiculed flop to Liverpool’s greatest goal-scorer since the Premier League was launched in 1992. And there could be much more to come, writes Nick Said.

Those who watched Egypt forward struggle in his early days at Chelsea would never have said he would go on to become one of the finest forwards the Premier League has seen.

These days, Salah is revered for his pace, artistry on the ball and lethal finishing, but when he first arrived in England nine years ago, was dismissed as a flop at the Stamford Bridge club.

Having been developed through Cairo club Al Mokawloon, he moved on to Swiss side Basel in 2012 and showed promise as a raw, attacking player with quick feet and a good football brain.

He names Ronaldo (the Brazilian striker), Zinedine Zidane and Francesco Totti as his early idol, though in truth, he is nothing like those players. The one thing they did all have in common, though, was tremendous vision on the ball.

Salah battled with finishing in the early years, often ending up in tears in the dressing room after games, but this instilled in him a burning desire to be successful.

Basel had been keeping an eye on Salah for some time and signed him ahead of the 2012-13 campaign as a replacement for the popular Xherdan Shaqiri, who would later become a teammate of the Egyptian’s at Anfield.

He first caught the eye of Chelsea officials when he scored against them in the 2012 Uefa Champions League semi-final, though the Blues would advance to the final, and Salah moved to London during the January transfer window the following season for a reported fee of £11 million.

Liverpool had tried to sign him at the same time, but lost out to The Blues, though he only made 13 Premier League appearances in 12 months at the club, scoring two goals, before he was sent on loan to Italian Serie A side Fiorentina.

There he shone, as he did on loan at Roma the following campaign, clearly finding the slower pace of Serie A more to his liking. He made the move to the Stadio Olimpico permanent for a fee of £15 million in the 2016/17 season.

In all, he scored 29 goals in 65 Serie A games, a very healthy return, but given what had occurred in his previous spell in the Premier League, there were still some eyebrows raised when Liverpool paid a fee rising to £43 million for his services in 2017.

But Salah is known as one of the hardest workers in football, putting in tremendous hours on the training pitch and working hard on his body to make sure he is in optimal condition.

He has a number of personal trainers who work on all aspects of his game, including one who specifically helps him improve reflexes, so he can react quickest to situations on the pitch. This kind of attention to detail is what has made him so successful.

He hit the ground running with 32 Premier League goals in his first season at Anfield as he finished top scorer in the division and has not looked back.

He netted 19 goals when Liverpool won the 2019/20 title, while his two goals in this season’s epic 7-0 victory over Manchester United made him the Reds’ most prolific scorer in the Premier League era.

At that stage, he had scored 129 Premier League goals, one more than previous record-holder Robbie Fowler, while he also became the most prolific scorer in Egypt’s history by taking his career tally to 303 for club and country. That bettered the previous best mark of 302 from the legendary striker Hossam Hassan.

It is an excellent record for someone who usually plays out wide in a front three, with his partnership at Liverpool with Senegal star Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino at its height arguably the best in the world.

“It’s very special, I can’t lie,” Salah said of becoming Liverpool’s top goal scorer. “This record was in my mind since I came here. I think after my first year, I was always chasing that record, so to break it was unbelievable. I’m going home to celebrate with the family, have a chamomile tea and sleep!

“I have some good records at Liverpool. To be fair, as long as we achieve something with the team that’s the most important thing for me. I’m so happy and proud to break records and win trophies in a team like Liverpool.”