Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in the modern Premier League’s history. The Liverpool forward has accomplished so much as an individual and as part of a collective, being that he is the top goal-scorer on the most successful Liverpool dynasty in recent memory.
Yet Salah continues to be disrespected by members of the media, and it is wholly frustrating to see such a talented, hard-working individual undermined by the very people who are supposed to be lifting him up and calling attention to his great work.
The Team of the Season snubs are one thing. While it is baffling to me that Salah has been included on none of them mainstream ones, I can at least take some solace in the fact that somebody else is getting recognition. Maybe Phil Foden really does deserve the additional praise.
However, I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend this false narrative that is perpetuated by some fans and media types, including BBC Sport’s Garth Crooks. Not only did Crooks leave Salah off his Team of the Season list, but he also stated that Salah’s pursuit of the Premier League’s Golden Boot “is having a negative effect on some of his teammates”.
Mohamed Salah has been Liverpool’s MVP in this trying season
Liverpool are in the midst of an extremely difficult top-four race in a season that has cost them several key players due to injury, namely Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Jordan Henderson. Salah’s 21 goals, which now tie him for the league lead with Harry Kane of Tottenham, are far and away the most on the team. Nobody else has 10, and nobody else is converting their chances as consistently as the 28-year-old.
Without Salah’s goals, Liverpool would be toast. They would be in a fight for the Europa League and not the fight for the Champions League. Why is that a striker who plays out wide is deemed selfish for doing his job? Why do people want to find fault or even imply a lack of cohesion in the locker room? I would think that the Liverpool players are grateful for Salah’s work.
Furthermore, Salah isn’t holding back his teammates. Per WhoScored.com, he averages a healthy 1.4 key passes per game, which is more than Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino, to compare. Only Sadio Mane and the fullbacks rank higher, and none of them have more than two assists over Salah to boot.
Harry Kane’s amazing assist totals may have distorted perception, but Salah’s assists have suffered from some of the dry spells Mane and Firmino have gone through in front of goal. Whereas Kane has Son Heung-Min near him in the scoring charts, Salah is entrusted to carry the Reds’ attack. He needs to take shots and not worry so much about passing. It’s actually better for the team when he does that.
Salah does his job and does it well. He has been a leader and inspiration for this team over the years. Everyone associated with Liverpool appreciates him, and his celebration to seal the game against Manchester United was a reminder of how much he appreciates the club, too. We need to squash this narrative that he is bad for his teammates or hurting those around him. With his goals, pressing, and even key passes, he is helping them. He is a matchwinner.