Mo Salah has his mojo back: Liverpool hero is peaking at perfect time
Mohamed Salah has got his mojo back: Liverpool hero is peaking at perfect time after mid-season dip in form
- Mohamed Salah scored a stunning 30-year goal as Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0
- He’d been on an eight-game goalless run before assisting a winner against Spurs
- That lucky moment appeared to boost his confidence and he has his mojo back
There is a running joke with Mohamed Salah after every Liverpool home game that involves requests for interviews.
He only stopped once to speak to the written media in his first season at Anfield, fulfilling a promise after he had reached 40 goals.
This season the uniform response to requests for a few minutes of his time has been a mischievous smile and a reply of: ‘When I get to 40!’
Mohamed Salah (left) scored a stunning goal as Liverpool beat his former club Chelsea 2-0
Salah’s 30-yard strike gave Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga no chance at Anfield on Sunday
Liverpool star Salah cupped his ears after scoring against Chelsea in the Premier League
Breaking the 40 barrier was magical but was also a problem. Those standards were always going to be impossible to maintain, yet some expected more of the same.
It would not be wrong to suggest he has tried too hard at times this season to live up to expectations.
Some days it led to him being on the periphery; others it led to him making wrong decisions on the ball. Games at Old Trafford, Goodison Park and Craven Cottage come to mind when it looked like Salah was tying himself in knots.
Not any longer. Salah, once again, is playing with liberation and certainty and the turning point that led to the blockbuster shot that ripped into Chelsea’s net came in the final minute of a remarkable afternoon against Tottenham.
That game had been going as many had done since his last goal on February 9 against Bournemouth. He floated about, ran down cul-de-sacs, failed to play in Sadio Mane on two occasions and left his Senegalese colleague looking to the sky in exasperation.
Then, as Liverpool’s title dream appeared to be flickering out at 1-1 in the 90th minute, Salah headed a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold back in to the six-yard box, Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld got in a muddle and the landscape changed.
Even though it was not his goal, Salah left the pitch that day to a thunderous ovation rather than respectful applause. Clearly, his tail is up — a player short of confidence and lacking clarity of thought would not have produced the moments he did subsequently against Southampton and Chelsea.
Salah had been on an eight-game goalless run before assisting a lucky winner against Spurs
By now, you will have seen countless replays of the 30-yard drive that screamed past Kepa Arrizabalaga but Salah’s importance, coming up with such a moment, cannot be diluted as the season reaches its denouement.
Liverpool’s players may have been more interested in finding out how Tiger Woods was faring at Augusta than showering Salah with praise when they returned to the dressing room on Sunday, but they know he is firmly back in the groove — and what that could mean for the team.
‘It was unbelievable,’ said left back Andy Robertson. ‘He cut inside and he fancied his chances. As soon as he hit it, everyone knew that it was in.
‘A bit of stuff went on in midweek and that was the perfect way to shut them up. The place went wild. Fair play to Mo.’
The ‘bit of stuff’, of course, was the grotesque video of Chelsea fans racially abusing him in a Prague bar on Thursday and the goal was a poetic way to silence the bigots. It was, in so many ways, a statement.
Now, as Liverpool relentlessly pursue the two biggest trophies, Salah looks primed to make more.
‘We want to go as far as possible in the Champions League and we’re taking it right to the wire in the Premier League,’ said Robertson. ‘We want to win every competition we’re in and we’ll go flat out for both, but we know how hard it’s going to be.’
Hard, yes, but not impossible. Not when Salah is weaving his magic.
Salah and his Liverpool team-mates are now playing with confidence and pushing for glory
Andy Robertson said: ‘We want to win every competition we’re in and we’ll go flat out for both’
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