Mohamed Salah & The Break That Can Fire Liverpool to Glory
I recall a couple of years back, how Liverpool’s ambitious bid to win all four available trophies fell away in the final stages of the 2021/22 season. A horrid defeat was delivered by Real Madrid in the 2022 Champions League final, after Manchester City (and their sports washing empire) had secured yet another Premier League title. In that almost historic campaign where both domestic cups were attained, the reds were forced to continually battle for top spot with a state-owned City side, as Pep Guardiola and his extravagantly assembled squad maintained their domination. That predicament has been the routine scenario since well before 115-charges were finally levelled at the club, a group that has now be exposed as an enterprise who manipulates their way to success. In having to fight a losing battle and end with a second placed total of 92-points (an amazing tally), is something that meant all key individuals were needed each week. The relentless schedule and need to win nearly every game were the only means to maintain a title race, against a team that did not deserve to be in one. By overplaying and burning out key individuals, eventually the reds limped to the end of the season, before succumbing to a heartbreaking 0-1 defeat to the Spanish giants, Real Madrid.
How Can This Campaign Differ…?
The 2022 African Cup of Nations ended with Sadio Mané’s Senegal beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt on penalties. Both players had given everything that season, with the Egyptian King especially having enjoyed a wonderful run in the lead up to that competition. The intense domestic and European campaign was only added to by AFCON participation, which saw the former Roma forward return tired and far less venomous than that which had departed. That very season would represent the last of Sadio Mané, who would even migrate into a false nine position after his return from the AFCON, as his wide forward potency continued to wane. Roberto Firmino had dropped out of the first team elite, as the new and electrifying arrival, Luis Díaz, took his new surroundings by storm. The eventual shortcomings in both the Premier League title race and European Cup final, cannot be levelled at any one individual. What can be confidently stated, however, is that if Mohamed Salah had not run himself into the ground during that January and early February period of 2022, then he would have taken Liverpool to unprecedented success, with the likelihood of a quadruple being realised.
During the current and ongoing AFCON, Egypt caught an early elimination, after the sudden and unexpected hamstring injury sustained by their god like captain, Mohamed Salah. A decision was made almost immediately to called the 32-year-old back to Merseyside, where his treatment and subsequent rehabilitation could be undertaken at the state-of-the-art Axa Training Centre. Though there were statements proclaiming that the record-breaking scorer would return to the nation hosting the wonderful tournament, the Ivory Coast (if they were to reach the final), I suspect there was a confidence that Egypt’s run would soon end without their talisman and leader. The conclusion must therefore be, that despite the nation of Liverpool’s world class forward being unfortunate, luck and a much-needed rest period appears to have befallen the reds.
Most open-play chances created in Europe's top seven leagues this season:
◉ 46 – Florian Wirtz
◉ 46 – Mohamed Salah
◉ 46 – Dejan Kulusevski
Flo has played the fewest minutes. ✨ pic.twitter.com/2AaurUxnaj
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 7, 2024
Below is a breakdown of Mohamed Salah’s 2023/24 season thus far, for his club side.
Games played – 27
Minutes played – 2,046
Goals scored – 18
Assists – 27
Minutes per goal involvement – 114
The above data the world class return of a truly elite footballer, who everyone assumed would return from international duty as an overplayed and fatigue ridden shadow of his true self. What Jürgen Klopp will be welcoming back into the squad next week instead, is a well-rested and reinvigorated specimen that will be hell bent on winning everything on offer. I cannot imagine what the second half of the year would have entailed, if a jaded and lethargic number eleven were ushered into the fray, which luckily for the entire fanbase is something they no longer must fear.
A few weeks ago, Kevin De Bruyne was welcomed back into the Manchester City fold after his own injury issues, which immediately increased their potency and level of play. The aftermath of that has seen an enthralling title race begin to develop, which means the reds must answer fire with fire. Mohamed Salah is just about back and the rest of the Premier League should be aware of that could mean for them.