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Is Mohamed Salah the problem in Liverpool’s attack?

15 January 2021 | Premier League | Opinion
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Is Mohamed Salah the problem in Liverpool’s attack?
Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com

Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in 25 appearances for Liverpool this season. Thirteen of those goals have come in 16 Premier League matches.

In spite of those goals and Liverpool sitting at the top of the Premier League, the team are struggling to get goals. The Reds have scored just once in their last three league matches being held scoreless in back-to-back games versus Newcastle United and Southampton.

Both of those matches saw Salah go anonymous in the matches. Although the Egyptian is the team’s high-scorer, there is no doubt that left-winger, Sadio Mane, is a more important, versatile attacker. Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino’s strengths lie in passing and connecting the front three.

Since the 2017-18 season, Salah’s first season at Liverpool, he has been considered Liverpool’s best player, when he scored 32 league goals. He declined to 22 in season No. 2 and 19 last term. This campaign is likely to see Salah reach the 20s once more.

Salah leads Liverpool and the Premier League in goals this season and has accounted for 38% of Liverpool’s scoring. Five of his 13 goals have come from the penalty spot, so just eight Salah goals have been tallied from open play. He averages 50 touches per fixture in the league.

While the numbers are excellent, Salah’s last two goals came against Crystal Palace on December 19th. His two goals came with the game already wrapped up as Liverpool won 7-0. The win versus Crystal Palace was the last of a four-match scoring run Salah was on in which he tallied five goals.

When watching Liverpool play this season, he feels like even more of a luxury player than ever before. While Firmino and Mane can be counted on to trackback and start an attack from defence, Salah stays in advanced areas, for the most part, as the team’s long-ball outlet.

Too often this season, we have seen him lose the ball once chasing it down or make a poor decision in the final third, taking on a shot he shouldn’t have.

Although exceeding his expected goal figure of 9.33, Salah’s accuracy has been absent in games the Reds must win, such as against Newcastle United.

Salah is dispossessed on average 2.4 times per match and averages 3.5 unsuccessful touches. He averages just 0.1 crosses and 0.2 through balls per fixture.

While the numbers won’t worry some due to Salah’s high goals total, it is a problem for Liverpool seeking to retain the title.

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Premier League Regular Season
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Manchester City 41 19 12 5 2 36 13 23
2. Manchester United 40 19 12 4 3 36 25 11
3. Leicester City 38 19 12 2 5 35 21 14
4. West Ham 35 20 10 5 5 30 24 6
5. Liverpool 34 19 9 7 3 37 22 15
6. Tottenham 33 18 9 6 3 33 17 16
7. Everton 32 17 10 2 5 28 21 7
8. Arsenal 30 20 9 3 8 26 20 6
9. Aston Villa 29 17 9 2 6 31 18 13
10. Chelsea 29 19 8 5 6 33 23 10
11. Southampton 29 19 8 5 6 27 24 3
12. Leeds United 26 19 8 2 9 32 35 -3
13. Crystal Palace 23 20 6 5 9 24 36 -12
14. Wolverhampton 22 19 6 4 9 21 29 -8
15. Burnley 19 18 5 4 9 10 22 -12
16. Newcastle United 19 20 5 4 11 19 34 -15
17. Brighton 17 19 3 8 8 22 29 -7
18. Fulham 12 18 2 6 10 15 27 -12
19. West Bromwich 11 20 2 5 13 15 48 -33
20. Sheffield United 5 19 1 2 16 10 32 -22

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