Relentless and modest machine: Salah continues to perform miracles for Liverpool | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Relentless and modest machine that is Mohamed Salah continues to perform miracles for Liverpool

Dec 11, 2023 08:56 AM IST

This season Salah looks at the top of his game. With 11 goals, he is second in the goal-scoring list behind Erling Haaland. Besides he has provided 7 assists

When the Saudis reached out to Liverpool for Mohamed Salah earlier this year, many were sure they won't come back empty-handed. Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad were ready to shell out to the tune of £150m to have the 31-year-old forward on board. This move on the Saudi's part was inevitable. Besides being a great footballer, the Egyptian had many cultural similarities belonging to a region that’s just two-three hours’ flight away from the kingdom. Needless to say, his being a follower of Islam also helped a little just like Karim Benzema. But Salah was different in that he grew up and learnt his football in North Africa. Benzema, on the other hand, played all his football in France. Basically, Salah would have been a greater catch to inspire Middle Eastern youth than anyone else, including Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, both past their prime. But Liverpool and Salah rejected the offer.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park(AP)
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park(AP)

Many were surprised after the offer rejection. Salah was not getting any younger. When your glory is on the wane, it's advisable to join the Saudi league nowadays and make loads of money. But that was what most thought. As far as

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Salah was concerned, he knew there was a lot more competitive football left in him. He knew that not many players from his region get to build the kind of legacy he had in the Premier League since moving to Anfield from AS Roma in 2017. And he could further strengthen his legacy. The Saudis could wait!

At this stage of the 2023-24 Premier League season, Salah has exactly gone on to do that. On Saturday, Liverpool moved to the top of the table with a comeback win against Crystal Palace. Salah scored the equaliser as well as provided the assist for the winner as the Merseyside club left Arsenal behind into second place. The Gunners later lost to Aston Villa. On 37 points after 16 matches, Liverpool will back themselves to win the Premier League.

It was a red-letter day for Salah who scored his 200th goal for the Reds and joined the pantheon of Liverpool greats. Only four players were in the 200-goal club (across all competitions) before him at Liverpool. Imagine if Salah had left Liverpool for Al-Ittihad!

This season Salah looks at the top of his game. With 11 goals, he is second in the goal-scoring list behind Manchester City's Erling Haaland. Besides he has provided seven assists. The biggest club in England in the last 12 years has undoubtedly been City who appear to be faltering this season, which means Liverpool have a great chance to win their second title in the Premier League era.

Salah played a pivotal role with 19 goals when last time the Reds had done it in 2019-20. “…We have a new team now because there's six or seven [new] players. We need to give them advice. They're learning a lot and the're really nice. We can do something special this year.” Salah’s enthusiasm after the win is not misplaced, not at all.

It's amazing how Salah goes unassumingly about his business year in, year out, letting his game do the talking. He is a thinking, considerate man. He is not just restricted to the game of football. Recently, he appealed to world leaders to help stop the killing of the innocent in the Israel-Hamas conflict. That was a great gesture. Salah is much more than an athlete.

In his six-year stay at the club, he has won both the important trophies. Premier League as well as the Champions League (2018-19), Europe's top club competition. Besides, he has won the FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Carabao Cup and FA Community Shield at Liverpool. For records' sake, he has not won the Europa League and this season he can tick that box. The Reds are looking good at present having advanced to the second stage of the competition. More than that he would want Liverpool back in the Champions League next season after the heart-break of 2022-23 when they finished fifth in the Premier League. There is so much to keep Salah motivated at Liverpool.

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