Liverpool came from behind on Monday night to defeat West Ham 3-2 at Anfield to move within 12 points of the Premier League title. The Reds scored through Georginio Wijnaldum to open the scoring but the relegation-threatened Hammers battled back scoring twice on either side of halftime. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah then added a second goal before Sadio Mane tallied the winner for the Reds late in the game.
The come from behind win came on the back of Liverpool’s 1-0 away loss against Atletico Madrid in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie. The Champions League defeat saw the Reds unable to open up Atletico Madrid’s locked defence. Salah was the guiltiest of Liverpool players to go missing during the tie and according to WhoScored.com, received the lowest rating from the fixture. Salah tallied a 70% pass success rate, one dribble, dispossessed once, and two shots (both off-target).
Mohamed Salah blowing hot and cold
Salah has blown hot and cold this season. Just 18 months ago, Liverpool struggled to win matches without the winger on the pitch. Yet, since the Reds lost the 2018 Champions League final, the team have evolved. Sadio Mane has become Liverpool’s most important player in attack while Roberto Firmino remains a key attack cog.
Salah has tallied 15 league goals and six assists this campaign. It is possible that Salah could finish 2019-20 with a decrease in both categories from last season. The 2017-18 season was Salah’s zenith for Liverpool and though it was unlikely he would reach the same level in goals and/or assists, it was expected he would be thereabout. Which he has been. Of course, Salah’s decreased numbers come with the rise in goals Mane has scored over the last 18 months.
Salah has scored 15 times in the Premier League to lead Liverpool in goals. Meanwhile, he is second in key passes (1.8), second in dribbles (1.6), and first in shots (3.9) per game, according to WhoScore.com.
According to Understat, Salah is slightly below both his expected goals (15.22) and expected assists (6.71). However, those numbers are marginal.
Is Mohamed Salah underappreciated?
Sky Sports’ pundit Jamie Carragher has labelled Salah as “underappreciated” by Liverpool supporters. Carragher’s assessment isn’t quite accurate as the Liverpool fanbase does hold Salah in high esteem. Yet, there is a feeling that the best may have been seen when it comes to Salah and his limitations are showing.
Mohamed Salah has now equalled Luis Suarez’ Premier League goal tally for Liverpool.
Only Fowler, Gerrard and Owen are ahead of him now.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 24, 2020
Mohamed Salah will turn 28-years-old in June. Transfermarkt lists Salah worth £135 million which is £97.2m more than Liverpool paid Roma to acquire him. If the Reds were offered the estimated value, the club would be mad not to take it in the offseason. Liverpool have already shown they can replace star players. Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, and Philippe Coutinho were all replaced by the Reds after their expensive departures.
There is no doubt Salah is important to Liverpool, but the club need him to step up for big games. He was anonymous against Atletico and the numbers cannot dispute that. Perhaps it was a one-off, but the Reds have shown they can win without him on the pitch. Last season’s four-goal triumph against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal second leg is proof.