There has never been a better Premier League goalscorer than 2017-18 Mohamed Salah. Not Dennis Bergkamp. Not Alan Shearer. Not Andy Cole. Not Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney or Luis Suarez or Thierry Henry.
After Salah scored yet again on Saturday in a 2-2 Liverpool draw at West Brom, none of them have ever had as good an individual season as the Egyptian’s first on Merseyside.
Salah’s goal was his 31st of the Premier League campaign. It therefore tied the single-38-game-season mark jointly held by Ronaldo (2007-08), Suarez (2013-14) and Shearer (1995-96).
And Salah has reached the mark in fewer games than any of his competitors. Saturday was his 33rd league appearance. Ronaldo needed 34. Shearer needed 35. Suarez needed just 33, but all 33 were starts, whereas Salah has twice come off the bench.
Only Suarez’s and Ronaldo’s seasons are really comparable. Suarez’s 12 assists are the most of the lot. But Salah has nine. He also has three more games to add to both his goal and assist tallies.
Ronaldo had seven assists in his memorable 31-goal season at Manchester United. And as Ronaldo stans will likely be quick to remind you, the Portuguese attacker got many of his 31 as a true winger, often in a 4-4-2 with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez up top.
Salah, you could argue, has also equaled the record as a true winger. But that label is a bit of a misnomer. He’s more so an interchangeable inside forward, as are the other two members of Liverpool’s front three.
The premeditated interchangeability was on display on Salah’s goal. He started the play in an out-and-out striker position:
But that doesn’t make his equaling of the record, and perhaps soon surpassing of it, any less impressive.
As for Liverpool, it blew a two-goal lead in the 18 minutes after Salah’s tally. But because of its strong goal differential, it will need just four points at maximum from its last three games – vs. Stoke, at Chelsea, vs. Brighton – to secure a spot in the top four. With Salah firing as consistently as ever, the Reds should be fine.
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