Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was unable to lead Egypt to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final. The Pharaohs were defeated by South Africa in a shock round of 16 result, 1-0. Despite Salah’s disappointment at missing out on the AFCON final, Liverpool and Fantasy Premier League managers will benefit from his early return to the Reds.
AFCON disappointment could be FPL delight
Salah has arguably been the Premier League’s best player since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2017. In a deal that many football fans, pundits, and FPL managers didn’t expect to pay off quite like it has, Salah has proven every penny paid for him was worth it.
The Egyptian’s debut season saw him record 303 FPL points. He averaged 8.45 points per game in FPL while recording 32 goals and 12 assists. Salah also won the Premier League Golden Boot Award.
Just when FPL fans didn’t think it could get any better, Salah tallied 259 points in 2018-19. His 22 goals once again gave him the league’s Golden Boot Award (shared with teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang).
Salah appeared in all 38 Liverpool Premier League matches last season averaging 6.82 points per game in FPL. While his points total was better the prior season, the combination of Salah and Mane was unreal.
FPL managers able to land both Salah and Mane in the same team would have had 490 FPL points from just those two Liverpool wingers. That is an average of 13 FPL points per game.
AFCON elimination can be Premier League incentive
Although Salah started the 2018-19 Premier League season red hot with two goals and two assists in his first three matches, he was coming off of a busy summer.
The Egyptian ended the previous season in the Champions League Final injuring his shoulder. Salah was then rushed back to play in the World Cup for Egypt. When he started the season for Liverpool there were plenty of questions about his fitness.
Between the 30th of January and the 31st of March, Liverpool played nine league games with Salah scoring just once. He also tallied one assist during that time period.
His scoring drought was most likely a result of fatigue and too much football.
Salah is now on a much-deserved holiday after Egypt’s AFCON failure. Despite Salah likely to miss much of Liverpool’s preseason prep in the United States, Egypt’s elimination will most likely mean he will be available weeks earlier than if the Pharaohs had gone deeper into the AFCON tournament.
Liverpool teammate Mane is still competing at the tournament with Senegal. The Lions of Teranga will play Benin in the quarterfinals. If they reach the final on the 19th of July, Mane could miss Liverpool’s Premier League opener on the 9th of August against Norwich City.
The Reds will have already played against Manchester City the weekend prior in the Community Shield.
Salah could have his biggest year for Liverpool yet. The Egyptian has already recorded two fantastic seasons, but the best may be to come from the No. 11.
Liverpool and FPL managers are certainly lucky to have the forward finished with the AFCON tournament. Now, he can turn his attention to another big season at Anfield.