Liverpool’s brilliant centre-half Virgil van Dijk was giving his public backing to Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian King failed to score in his seventh successive game at the weekend.
The Reds won 2-1 and Salah was again a thorn in the side of the Fulham defence, creating havoc at every opportunity as he did against Burnley the week before.
However, because of Liverpool’s number 11’s phenomenal scoring record last season, sections of the media have jumped on Salah’s mini-drought to try to blow it out of proportion.
Virgil van Dijk was having none of it, though. He spoke to Liverpoolfc.com after the win at Fulham and said:
“Mo is a world-class player.
“People can say all they want but I think all the teams in the Premier League would love to have him in their side. We have him and I think he is playing well.
“The goals will come. That’s something for a striker that is maybe going to be in your head but we tell him every time: you just need to keep working, keep going and you will be fine.
“He’s still scored plenty of goals for us, to be fair, so it’s not like two like me! It is like this.”
Salah is a victim of his own success now. He raised the bar so high last season that this season is deemed to be a significant dip in form, despite 20 goals in 41 appearances during 2018/19 so far.
One league goal in any of his next five games will still see Salah reach the 50 Premier League goal-mark ahead of Fernando Torres’ Reds record. That’s how good Salah has been.
Salah also demands so much focus from opposition defenders and will often be facing two, three or even four defenders at a time. Is it a coincidence that his recent lack of goals is at the same time as Sadio Mané’s resurgence? Or is Salah simply creating even more space for his Reds colleagues?
There’s been a significant fall in the total quality of Salah’s shooting opportunities since the new year. It’s interesting that Mane’s chances have improved over the same period: is he benefiting from defensive tactics that are focused on stopping Salah?@DanKennett pic.twitter.com/pU96ygme3h
— EightyFivePoints (@EightyFivePoint) March 18, 2019
We would all like to see Salah get back among the goals for his own sake but as long as he’s occupying defenders, sometimes more than one at a time, then space will be there for Bobby Firmino and Mané to take advantage of.
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