Mohamed Salah’s greediness for goals is a trait that should be embraced by Liverpool as it’s what makes him stand out as one of the world’s best.
The jury was once again out on Mohamed Salah following Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton on Wednesday, where he scored twice and set-up Jordan Henderson’s goal at The Amex.
Doesn’t sound bad for one night, does it?
The Egyptian’s brace kept him in the hunt for a third consecutive Golden Boot, with just three goals between himself and the chart-topping Jamie Vardy.
That assist for Henderson, on the other hand, was his ninth of the season; leaving him tied with David Silva, Andrew Robertson, Son Heung-min and Adama Traore for the league’s third-best record.
Performance-wise, meanwhile, Salah was sublime. He looked sharp and dangerous throughout the match, pressuring the Brighton defence to make the difference yet again.
‘The Pharaoh’ was relentless right from the very beginning and expertly scored inside the opening six minutes. After Leandro Trossard pulled one back for Brighton, he responded with a glancing header to seal a 30th win for Liverpool in just 34 games; a feat no team has ever accomplished in English league football history, let alone the Premier League.
Wednesday’s exploits also enabled Salah to become only the fourth Reds player in Premier League history to accomplish a century of successful final-third involvements, tallying 73 goals and 27 assists in 104 appearances as per Opta.
100 – Mo Salah has reached 100 goal involvements for @LFC in the @premierleague (73 goals, 27 assists in 104 apps), becoming just the fourth player to do so for the Reds after Steven Gerrard (212), Robbie Fowler (158) and Michael Own (148). Century. pic.twitter.com/MmXjvn3l8F
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 8, 2020
It’s an extraordinary achievement for any footballer in the Premier League and one worthy of widespread applause. But not everybody was on the same page…
Selfishness just part of the package
Instead of giving Salah the recognition that his contributions so richly deserved, Graeme Souness elaborated on the Egyptian’s game-high tally of eight shots by suggesting his own needs were above the team’s.
What Souness branded as ‘super selfish’, though, others may label ‘relentless’ or ‘persistent’.
🗣 | Graeme Souness on Mo Salah last night:
"He was shooting at every opportunity. His team-mates wouldn’t be happy with him on two or three occasions. He’s always selfish. Tonight, he was super selfish. He wants his Golden Boot. They’ve won the league, he’s done his part.” pic.twitter.com/oYaqg5MzRu
— The Anfield Buzz (@TheAnfieldBuzz) July 9, 2020
The Scot’s damming assessment was rather unfair to an otherwise brilliant performance from Salah. But to be honest, there were moments late on against Brighton the forward seemed desperate to score a hat-trick. He nearly did so as well through a header in the ultimate moments.
It’s clear the 28-year-old really wants to add another Golden Boot to his haul.
The stats this season in the Premier League don’t reflect well on him either, with Salah making the most total shots on goal out of every player. Vardy, for example, has made 12 shots fewer in comparison.
Fellow Golden Boot contenders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (38 shots) and former Liverpool teammate Danny Ings (34), meanwhile, are quite a way back from Salah’s tally themselves.
So if you take these stats into consideration, Souness may have a point. But so what? ALL elite goalscorers are selfish at the end of the day.
Without that ruthlessness and hunger for goals, their numbers wouldn’t be anywhere near as good. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, for example, couldn’t possibly dream of 40 or 50 goals-per-season with no ruthless streak. It’s a part of the package that has made them greats in the game.
Salah is in a similar mould, as is pretty much every player who scores an alarming rate of goals. It’s only when they’re not scoring that people begin to note their ‘selfishness’.
And while critics will probably lay into him again one day, Salah’s figures for Liverpool far outweigh any of his cons. They’re almost unbelievable, yet criminally overlooked.
Hopefully, that will change in time.