" The Evolution of Mohamed Salah

The Evolution of Mohamed Salah

As Mohamed Salah recorded his 50th Premier League goal last weekend against Crystal Palace at Anfield, and in doing so he became the 3rd fastest player in Premier League history to reach this milestone behind Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, Salah is already on his way to becoming a Liverpool legend. However, with the winger playing more and more down the middle these days the question has to be asked has Salah now become a striker?

After the amazing highs of last season I think everyone knew that Salah would be a marked man this campaign and therefore would have to adapt his game to avoid the dreaded second season syndrome, but I don’t think anyone predicted how dramatically his game would evolve as Salah has gone from a player who did most of his damage by cutting in from the right to a player who is now tapping in goals from 2 yards out, and on Saturday it was even closer than that.

Last season we all enjoyed watching the Egyptian taking on defender after defender as he would leave us hanging off the edge of our seats. Majority of Salah’s goals last season came from either weaving his way through defenders from the right before finishing, like he did against Tottenham at Anfield last February, or cutting in from the right and bending the ball beautifully into the top corner, his goal against Roma is a perfect example of this.

This season he’s not had the room to do that hence why he struggled so much in the early parts. Personally this was something I was worried about and watching him in the first few weeks did nothing to ease my concern. However Klopp is a genius and he knows far more about football than me. Seeing his star man struggling Klopp had the genius idea of moving Salah into more central position where he can use his pace to trouble defenders in other ways like playing off the shoulder.

Since moving to the middle Salah has had to adapt his game especially his ability to hold up the ball, but he has managed to do this effectively and I think this has gone under the radar a little bit, I mean I didn’t even notice it until last Saturday when I saw Salah adding poaching to his game.

When you think about poachers you don’t really think about Salah as typically that’s not really his strong point but Salah is now beginning to get the knack of being in the right place at the right time in the penalty area. Saturday was a great example of this especially for his first goal, when the ball gets played to Van Dijk, Salah is already anticipating that the ball might land at his feet and is already on the move and ready to pounce.

I think this is something that he has added to his game and I don’t know if he would have been anticipating that as much last season. Even his second goal is about anticipating where the ball might land. He is already on the move when the ball gets played to Milner as he knows that there is a chance the ball might fall for him, a typical poacher. Both of Salah’s goals last week reminded me of something Robbie Fowler or Ian Rush would score, they were classic poacher’s finishers and that’s when it suddenly hit me that Salah is now more of a striker than a winger.

Don’t get me wrong I still think we’ll see Salah on the wing from time to time and having someone who can play in both positions at a world class level is always going to be a bonus but I do think going forward we are going to see Salah down the middle.

My only worry would be do we now have to come up with a new song for Salah as we can’t really sing about him running down the wing if he’s not running down the wing, well it’s not like we’ve not got enough to choose from and I really do think Salah is going to be more of a threat as a striker and that could be so crucial if we are finally going to end the 29 year wait for a League title.