So Much More To Come From Mo Salah
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Moving to a club of Liverpool’s size, even if you have plied your trade at equally giant footballing institutions in the past, can be a very tough thing to adjust to.
Your every move is scrutinised, both on and off the pitch, and if you don’t hit the ground running, it doesn’t take too long for the rumblings of discontent to start.
Liverpool have had many players to have suffered in this respect down the years, many of whom never recovered from a slow start and have since been consigned to Reds history, regarded as nothing more than “failures”.
Fernando Morientes, Robbie Keane, Alberto Aquilani, Lazar Markovic and Christian Benteke are just some high-profile names that immediately spring to mind, when it comes to failing to live up to a price tag, and there are many more if you think long and hard enough.
Mohamed Salah arrived from Roma this summer as a club-record signing with plenty of pressure on his shoulders, even if some did lazily show concern about his quality, after a forgettable spell at Chelsea in which he wasn’t used nearly enough.
From the minute he joined, however, he has looked the part, starting with a number of eye-catching attacking displays in pre-season, in which he scored in four separate matches.
Brought in as someone to add another dimension to Jurgen Klopp’s increasingly destructive side, he has done just that, looking a bargain during a summer that has seen transfer fees become absurd.
Forging a wonderful understanding alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, in what has the potential to be Liverpool’s most potent front-three in many, many years, Salah has got off to a really promising start.
In his first five competitive appearances, four of which have been starts, the 25-year-old has scored three times, helping the Reds reach the Champions League group stage and batter Arsenal in the space of four days.
He has chipped in with an assist for good measure, too, finding the net or teeing up a teammate to score every 96 minutes on average so far in 2017/18. It bodes very well.
We have already seen Salah’s goal-poaching instincts on show numerous times,, which is something that sets him apart from lesser wide men who don’t score so regularly. We have also witnessed his blistering pace, clever movement, impressive work-rate and trickery with the ball at his feet, making him something of a nightmare for opponents to handle.
He doesn’t seem remotely overawed by the situation, and as has been the case with every Klopp signing since he became Liverpool manager, he also seems a genuinely decent person, which is an added bonus.
The most exciting thing about all of this, though, is that we are still yet to see the Egyptian close to his best.
If we’re being honest, Salah hasn’t always set the world alight in his first handful of matches, as he adjusts to Premier League football again, and a demanding system under Klopp.
His fitness levels will only improve – he has looked shattered on a few occasions late on in games – and his end product will become even more devastating the more ruthless he becomes.
The former Chelsea man may have registered three times already, but the fact of the matter is that he could have had double that, at least.
He missed a sitter against Arsenal last weekend, failed to convert when clean-through away to Hoffenheim and squandered a number of chances on the opening weekend at Watford, prior to netting his first official Liverpool goal at Vicarage Road.
Of the much-lauded front-three, Salah has been the least effective, with Mane looking genuinely world-class in the first few weeks of the season and Firmino increasingly showing that he is a special, modern-day striker who has to lead the line moving forward.
There should be no shame in Salah not quite reaching their levels yet, considering he is settling in at a new club and that the aforementioned duo are producing such magic currently.
To have already made such an impact, despite still being a little way from full match sharpness, should be very exciting for all Liverpool supporters, though.
He has still adjusted far better than many when they arrive at Anfield, and adding his overall threat to the team has definitely made the Reds even more unplayable when they click.
Salah looks like a player who should hit 15 goals without even breaking a sweat this season, given his ability to get into dangerous positions and score tap-ins – if he finds another gear, his goal return from out wide could be so pivotal to Liverpool’s success this season.
The likeable winger has already made himself a Reds hero, despite not yet being a month into his competitive career on Merseyside, and he will only go from strength to strength from this point on.