On the first part of the series Mohammed Salah: The Rise of the Pharaoh, we explored the early years and first contact with professional football of Salah in his natal Egypt. On the second one, his nomadic journey through Switzerland, England and Italy prior to his arrival to Liverpool. We’ll turn now to the latest year of Salah’s career to see how he’s managed to become the unstoppable and deathly winger we’ve seen lately under Klopp’s guidance. Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Mohammed Salah Mo had discrete seasons, even disappointing ones, before becoming what he is today. If we’d want to track down the crucial point when Salah began to stand up as a world-class player, we’d need to go back to his years in Italy, specially at AS Roma. The gifted Egyptian gained the confidence needed to develop his power and abilities, thus, the two years he was with the Romans enriched him greatly.
At the end of season 2016-2017, Salah was named Player of the Season of Roma, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer with 15 goals in all competitions and six assists. Liverpool catch an eye on him and, on 22 June 2017, Salah agreed a transfer to the Reds. He signed a long-term contract for an initial €42m fee that could rise to up to €50m, a record for the club.
Salah at his signing with Liverpool.
Wasn’t Mo afraid of returning to British soil after his bad season at Chelsea? Perhaps, perhaps not, but he was eager to demonstrate what he’d become, that’s for sure. Salah joined the club on the first of July upon the opening of the summer transfer window, becoming Liverpool’s first Egyptian player. If coming back to England was a tough call for Mo, Liverpool’s bet wasn’t extent of risk. The disappointing time of the Egyptian at Chelsea, a club with similar ambitions playing within the same competition, was fresh in the memory, so what were the factors that they would have considered? Why were they so sure that things would be different for Salah second time around in the Premier League?
According to Rob Mackenzie, a football recruitment consultant, in an interview with Sky Sports, Liverpool trusted on Salah’s motivation and mental strength as well as his physical and technical attributes. A brave decision was taken by Liverpool’s scouts; they trusted in the magnificent player he’d become in Italy, and above all, they admired the level of adaptability of Salah. In his own words: “Players who have experienced various levels and styles of play can demonstrate a level of adaptability that may otherwise be unknown. In the context of Salah’s profile, his previous successful experiences in both Egypt and Switzerland offered some encouragement”.
Salah celebrating one of his four goals against Watford, which ended up being the Premier League goal of the month of March.
Anyways, Salah’s return to England was a spectacular one. He made an excellent start with Liverpool with three goals in five Premier League and Champions League appearances during the period. For his performances in August, Salah was awarded Player of the Month by Liverpool supporters, who began to love the Egyptian.
On March, Salah scored four goals in a 5–0 win over Watford, which was the first hat-trick for The Reds. In the same match, he reached the astonishing quantity of 36 goals in his debut season for Liverpool, becoming the leading goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues and Liverpool’s second-highest goalscorer in a single season, behind only Ian Rush. Steven Gerard, the living legend and hero of Liverpool’s fans, stated: “”we are witnessing the start of greatness”.
What is the reason behind the seemly unstoppable progress of Salah? His capacity of adaptability comes from his believe on hard work. The Egyptian is a humble player, who prefers to give credit to his fellow partners, than to receive it to himself. He sacrifices for his team and gives away with passion and discipline all his talent. Maybe his noble attitude towards the game is what makes him so great; those are features shared by the players who were cultivated under Cruyff’s football philosophy of Total Football and comprised arguably the best team the world has ever known: Barcelona F.C under Guardiola’s guidance (See:https://www.foothunch.com/la-masia).
Under Salah’s leadership, Liverpool qualified for the final of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in eleven years. Real Madrid will be the opponent who’ll face the Reds, in a match that promises to be a memorable one. Both teams are on their peak form: Real will go out to the pitch with everything to win their third Champions title in a row, but they’ll not have it easy, as Liverpool wants to make history. They have for sure something on their favor: the deathly and effective weapon of Mohammed Salah.
On the following part, we’ll talk about his performance with the national team of Egypt, and the influence he’s had not only in his home nation, but in all Africa. Stay tuned!
Rob Mackenzie interview with SkySports:http://www.skysports.com/football/news/15117/11158943/why-mohamed-salahs-success-is-a-triumph-for-liverpool8217s-recruitment