A Bitter Sweet End To Salah's Season Will Fuel Hunger For 2018/19

A Bitter Sweet End To Salah's Season Will Fuel Hunger For 2018/19

A scintillating first season on Merseyside, Mohamed Salah stole the headlines in a record-breaking campaign that saw him secure the PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year as well as the lion’s share of Liverpool POTM awards. With 41 goals to boast, the King, as he shall forever be known, beat Harry Kane to the illustrious Golden Boot. It’s some trophy cabinet he’s racked up.

It’s truly remarkable what Salah has achieved in such a short space of time, producing every type of goal you could imagine. There’s been screamers, dazzling dancing moves to send Watford defenders on the floor before carefully tapping the ball home, doing keepy-ups to taunt the Porto goalkeeper and just generally taking the Premier League, and Europe for that matter, by storm.

Salah’s league figures tell the tale of his season perfectly; 32 goals and 10 assists in 2954 minutes corresponds to a goal or assist ever 70.3 minutes. To offer some context, the season of Suarez in 2013/14 saw him notch 31 goals and 12 assists, a goal or assist rate of 68.9 minutes. Thus, while Salah falls slightly behind the Uruguayan’s record, it’s indicative of the quality we’ve all seen from our new star man.

Then came the Champions League final and with it, a chance to showcase his talents on centre stage against the world’s best. Sadly the stars didn’t align for Liverpool to grab their sixth or for Klopp to bring home his first trophy since taking over from Brendan Rodgers, with Salah suffering a harrowing shoulder injury inside the opening thirty minutes.

A bitter end to an oh so sweet tale for our Mo.

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, Sergio Ramos’ actions were premeditated; the veteran centre-back’s gesturing to the Madrid bench after Salah was helped off the field said it all. Such debate is beside the point though – this was a player who had helped Liverpool enjoy a record-breaking Champions League campaign, an individual capable of changing a game in a split second. Even a neutral fan would’ve been gutted to see him forced off.

It’s no real surprise Salah’s since reflected on that game as the worst moment of his career to date, discussing it in a recent interview with Marca:

“Leaving the final was the worst moment of my career. I began to think I would miss the World Cup, it was devastating.”

Thankfully from Salah’s point of view, he has been able to take part in Egypt’s World Cup campaign having ensured national hero status following a 94th-minute penalty winner against Congo that sent his country to their first World Cup since 1990. However, it’s been much the same case as in Kiev; a remarkable story and journey ending with a gut-wrenching final chapter.

Egypt’s hopes of progressing beyond the group stage are now over having suffered a 3-1 defeat to host nation Russia before Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia made it mathematically impossible for a miraculous turnaround to occur. For  Salah, it’s a painful way to close the book on a record-breaking year.

Fitting though, that he was to get his moment in the spotlight after being hauled down inside the area. Although nothing more than a consolation goal for the Pharaohs, it saw Salah score his first ever World Cup goal and his country’s first since 1990 – yet another incredible feat for our King.

Talk about bittersweet.

Sadly, Russia wasn’t able to witness the usual Salah, with a shoulder injury obstructing his rhythm. Labouring as a result, Salah’s courageous attempts to push through the pain and try to drag his country out of trouble came to no avail.

We were all hoping Salah would get the perfect end to a perfect season at Liverpool, but it just wasn’t meant to be. However, an early exit comes with certain silver linings where Klopp is concerned.

The 26-year-old will head out one final time in Russia before enjoying a well earned summer break with his family. Those not on international duty such as Adam Lallana will report back to Melwood for pre-season training on July 2nd while Salah is expected to return earlier than expected given Egypt’s struggles. An appearance in the International Champions Cup in late July is now on the cards.

A painful ending to an electric campaign, Salah’s disappointments could fuel his hunger for success next season. For all the individual accolades achieved, the forward will be desperate to get his hands on some silverware under Klopp’s tutelage. That extra yard and grit could see him replicate the heights of 2017/18 – wouldn’t that be a sight to behold?

Of course, the flip side is that Salah’s heartbreak may cause him to become more desperate for silverware in a negative sense. Should he not achieve that in the near future at Liverpool, we could have another big name star departing Anfield and leaving us all with heartbreak of our own.

Needless to say Salah will be at an all-time low for the next few weeks, but current pain shouldn’t cloud an incredible campaign back in the Premier League. I can’t say I’m particularly adverse to seeing him back at Melwood earlier than expected, either.

He’s still our King, our Mo.

by

Football writer with a huge passion for the game, particularly The Reds.

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Comments

One response to “A Bitter Sweet End To Salah’s Season Will Fuel Hunger For 2018/19”

  1. Dear sir madam
    Below is an analysis of why Arabs failed to make it at Russia.
    Can it be accepted for publication.
    Thank you.

    The Bitter Truth of Arabs in World Cup Russia!
    No-one expected Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia to win the 21st World Cup yet to witness the four humiliated in Russia in style was unforeseen.
    Accumulating their points after 2 ill-performing games up to June 23 they have so far registered is ZERO points in the largest tournament’s biggest stage managing to score just four goals by the 4 ( 3 by Tunisia and one by Egypt) as well.!
    Was it circumstantial that all 4 Arab nations were eliminated together as a sign of beginning to unite as histrory shows Arabs differ in everything.
    5 goals were shipped by both Tunisia and Saudi Arabia in one match each respectively. After two matches by the 4 countries, a total of 15 goals were leaked by shaky and horrible defending!
    Egypt’s tournament has been a fairytale turned horror story with the injury saga and dilemma of their best player in the English premier league Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, whereas Morocco tipped to dominate Africa played well against Iran and Portugal but were toothless in attack.
    The 4 Arab nations’s performance is quite
    troublesome and frankly embarrassing leaving opinions by spectators and football die hard fan to be underwhelming. Jokingly FIFA was acronymed as “Football Is not For Arabs” as experts see “Arab teams were years behind leading countries in Europe , some in Africa and Latin America”.
    Millions of dollars are spent during pre tournament on coaches and 5 star hotels for preparions but the basic fatal mistakes were a sign of immaturity , lack of disciplined team work and positioning , mental inexperience even though there are scores of players who plight their trade in European leagues, and even more lack of leadership on and off the field. The FA administration of these teams are no exception to the above rules.
    There are 3 certainties :
    1. The players of the 4 nations are a team of shreds.
    2. The 11 players on the field play with no pattern even if we see the managers on the touch line . So why appoint a manager and waste millions in contracts
    3. There is no sense of leadership and vision by the men in ties at their respective FA offices.
    What is uncertain
    1. . You can’t know what runs in the head of an Arab player.
    A more remose explanation is that Arab mentality and even to some extent cultures is predominately nations that wear black hats.( Extracted from Edward De Bono). It means wearing a black hat you always question what might happen, by with Arabs we switch to defeat mode as Arabs are immersed by political unrests, economical turmoils that self inflict the mind to give in to defeats.
    The World Cup in Russia that had the highest participating 4 Arab countries was meant to fill the gaps of uncertainty and revive communal jovial feelings of thirsty spectators turned bitter.
    Yet one positive that can be taken is that each Arab team will take from Russia stories or lessons learned in their football journey ! In addition to the beautiful mural of aspiring Arab supporters in the stadiums beautified the game in investing money and passion for the love of the game of the poor in a complex political rulers of their counties.
    As one fan tweeted: “We (Arabs) have to be honest, we don’t deserve to play in big tournaments.”

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Published by Anfield Index
Updated: 2018-06-23 08:04:10
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