In Focus: Goal machine Salah is no one-trick pony for Reds

Cian Cheesbrough
LiveScore
Mohamed Salah is one the league's best for assists
Mohamed Salah is one the league's best for assists

Mohamed Salah began his Premier League campaign in typically impressive fashion with a dominant display against Norwich last weekend.

The Liverpool forward, 29, kicked off his fifth season at the club with a goal and two assists to add to his ever-growing tally.

The Egyptian’s ability to score is well documented but what is often overlooked is Salah’s impressive ability to supply as well.

Since joining Liverpool in 2017, only Kevin de Bruyne (50) has assisted more times than Salah (35) in the Premier League.

Ahead of Liverpool’s first home game of the season against Burnley, we look at Salah’s underrated creative abilities.

Goalscoring prowess

Mohamed Salah remains Liverpool's most potent finisher in the final third
Mohamed Salah remains Liverpool's most potent finisher in the final third

The tendency when talking about Salah is to focus on his goal return, and for good reason.

Since returning to the Premier League with Liverpool, the forward has finished in the top four of the individual scoring charts in all four of his previous campaigns, topping it twice.

He passed the 20-goal mark in all but one of those seasons, with his debut campaign of 2017-18 being the most fruitful with 32 strikes.

A difficult 2020-21 season saw Liverpool score just 68 goals — compared to 85, 89 and 84 in their previous campaigns — but that was by no means down to Salah.

He still notched 22 goals in 37 appearances, finishing behind only Harry Kane in the scoring charts, as he showcased his lethal consistency in front of goal.

Salah the provider

Salah also has unmatched consistency when it comes to laying it on for team-mates.

Before last season, Salah broke the 10-assist barrier in all his three previous campaigns for Liverpool — the only man to do so in that time.

If his strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino had been at their usual high levels last season, you would think Salah’s total of five would have been close to those numbers once again.

In an undoubtedly troubling time for Liverpool last season, Salah (12) still ranked in the top 10 for big chances created.

Mane’s total of 11 goals is down on previous campaigns but the Senegalese forward's previous track record suggests there is no reason he can’t recapture his best form again as Liverpool click back into gear.

Throw Firmino and a fully fit Diogo Jota into the equation and it could be normal service resumed for Salah’s creative output.

And the early signs last week were good.

On song against Canaries

Salah's assist to Roberto Firmino showcased his creative instinct
Salah's assist to Roberto Firmino showcased his creative instinct

In one of the standout performances of gameweek one, Salah was in fine form in a comprehensive win over the Canaries.

While his strike to seal the victory was the finishing edge we have come to expect, the former Chelsea man's creative instinct was also there for all to see.

There was some fortune about his loose touch finding Jota for his first but it was finished ruthlessly by his Portuguese team-mate and Salah will have no complaints about adding to his tally.

His second was the more impressive, as he found himself first to a rebounded Mane shot following a flowing counterattack involving Firmino.

Instead of shooting from a tight angle, as one of the league’s more out-and-out strikers might do, he calmly squared the ball with a perfectly weighted pass to Firmino — who had the easiest of jobs to make it 2-0.

After the game, Jurgen Klopp was under no illusions of Salah's importance in both departments, saying: "He played a really good game. 

"When you set up the first two goals, it is really cool and then after he had scored, he tried to find Sadio twice, so it was really good."

After Salah’s goals made up almost a third of Liverpool’s overall total last season, Klopp knows he will need all of his attacking options firing this time around.

If Salah continues in the vein he started with last week, then the platform is there for them to do exactly that.

Tags

Mohamed SalahLiverpoolPremier League
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