Liverpool: Will Salah break the Premier League goal-scoring record?
With only seven league games to go, can the mesmerising Egyptian round off a great campaign with a record?
Every so often, a player sets the Premier League alight and has fans from all corners of the globe in awe. This season, the example is Mohamed Salah.
Returning to England from AS Roma in the summer (after departing Chelsea on the back of two limiting seasons), Salah has captivated audiences week after week.
After deconstructing the Watford defence at Anfield last time out, Salah’s four-goal haul has put him in pole position for this season’s golden boot.
But it may not be the only accolade he could scoop come May…
A disappointing start
After a disappointing, barren spell at Stamford Bridge from 2013 to 2015, many questioned Liverpool’s purchase of the player.
Having played a meagre 534 minutes in West London, Salah managed only two goals in the same period.
Featuring only three times off the bench in the 2014/15 campaign, the Egyptian was inevitably moved on. Serie A’s Fiorentina took him on loan for the rest of the season.
A second loan deal – this time to Roma – followed as Salah began to make a name for himself in Italy.
For the next two seasons, the forward was a regular feature at the Stadio Olimpico after making the move permanent, scoring 29 goals in 65 games.
A €50 million fee and nine months later, Mo Salah is in unstoppable form.
Incredibly, he has failed to score in only nine of the league games in which he has featured for Liverpool in his first season back in England.
It is this form that has him four goals ahead of Tottenham’s injured hitman Harry Kane and seven ahead of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
But it isn’t just the golden boot that Salah could walk away with: he’s very much on course to set the record for the most amount of goals in a single season.
In good company
The current record for most goals in the modern Premier League season stands at 31.
Ex-Liverpool hero Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alan Shearer share the all-time lead, having hit the total in the 2013/14, 2007/08 and 1995/96 seasons, respectively.
Shearer and compatriot Andrew Cole both scored 34 goals in mid-90’s seasons. However the Premier League then ran for 42 matches instead of today’s 38.
For Salah though, it’s certainly good company to be in. Especially if you were to consider this his first ‘proper’ go in the English top-flight.
The magic ’30-goal mark’ is within touching distance, and it would be some achievement on its own: Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry and Kevin Phillips are the only others to be in the exclusive club along with the aforementioned trio.
Favourable fixture list
Not that it has bothered Salah too much who Liverpool have played this season, their remaining fixtures will no doubt aid him in his quest for individual glory.
Of their seven remaining fixtures, Liverpool face four sides currently in the bottom half of the table, and only one in the top six – a trip to Chelsea in the penultimate round of games.
Salah needs only four more goals to break the record, and his stats strongly suggest he could well do it.
Over home-and-away ties, only two sides have stopped Salah from scoring: Swansea City and Manchester United.
Of the teams he has yet to face for the second time, he has already scored against four of them. Only next opponents Crystal Palace, Brighton and rock-bottom West Brom kept him quiet in their respective first encounters.
Salah has netted 17 of his 28 goals at home, albeit with four coming in one game against a porous Watford defence.
Stoke City and Brighton are both due a trip to Anfield in the coming weeks and both are in the Premier League’s bottom three in terms of their records away from home. Salah will be licking his lips.
Player of the year?
As the season begins to wind down, the post-season accolades debate up and down the country intensifies.
For some time, there have arguably only been two horses in the race: Salah and Manchester City talisman Kevin De Bruyne.
While the Belgian has been an integral part of a magnificently pleasing City team this season, Salah’s goalscoring efforts simply can’t go unnoticed.
To put in into perspective, Roberto Firmino is next in line in Liverpool’s scoring charts on 14: half the amount.
De Bruyne’s case will be helped by the fact that his Manchester City team are set to win the title at a canter, whereas Salah’s efforts leave Liverpool battling it out for second place with Tottenham and bitter rivals Manchester United.
With Salah on the threshold of Premier League folklore though, you’d be hard pushed to find a reason to not give him the nod should he break the record.
What do you think? Will Mohamed Salah break the Premier League goal-scoring record?