Last season Mohamed Salah was England’s top scorer. But in this season the attacker has problems. Liverpool did not score a single goal in their defeat in Naples.
Shortly before the end of the Champions League match between SSC Naples and FC Liverpool, there was one of those unmistakable Mohamed Salah scenes. The star attacker of the English got a steep pass into the run, he hurried after the ball, became faster and faster, his hair bounced up and down. Five metres, three metres, a few centimetres were all that was missing – and then?
Then Naples goalkeeper David Ospina had slipped into the ball and clarified the situation.
Mohamed Salah, the superstar of Liverpool FC, who scored 44 goals in 52 games last season, and who was a fan all over the world, but especially in England, Egypt and other Arab countries, had not scored a goal again.
Naples at the top
When is a striker in crisis? If he doesn’t score goals for months? If that’s the definition, then Salah is in no crisis, after all he has already scored three times this season in seven Premier League matches. A decent quota for a goal scorer, but Salah’s expectations have been so raised by his past fable season that fans and experts are worried about the attacker. Isn’t that too little?
Liverpool lost the match at the SSC Naples. Also because Salah did not get the ball in the 85th minute. But above all because Lorenzo Insigne brought the San Paolo stadium in Naples to the boil in the 90th minute. His late goal ensured that the Italians are now first in Group C with four points – and Liverpool are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain. The English had won against the French on the first matchday.
Salah’s most recent memory was of a strong season when his goal from the game against Everton, a fine slam in the corner, was voted Goal of the Year by FIFA. A beautiful award for a goalscorer, almost as beautiful as the scorer cannon (which Salah also won in the Premier League). A small consolation that the season had ended so painfully with injury to the shoulder – after a Sergio Ramos foul – and defeat in the Champions League final.
Lorenzo Insigne Honours
- Serie B: 2011–12
- Coppa Italia: 2013–14
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2014
- Serie B Footballer of the Year: 2012
- Coppa Italia Top Goal-scorer: 2013–14
Bounced ball, misunderstanding with the goalkeeper
Since this injury Salah is looking for his old form. The World Cup with Egypt was no revelation, he scored two goals, but the games were all lost. Salah was also a propaganda coup for the Chechen autocrat Ramzan Kadyrov, and even fought with the federation. Salah had called for more security measures for the national team and better agreements on marketing measures.
And this season? One goal against West Ham, one against Brighton, one against Southampton. That was it then. His typical scenes against Naples were like this: Salah stumbles the ball out. Salah gets the ball in the middle, but his shot lands in the defender’s legs. Salah misunderstands Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker, whose pass is intercepted dangerously and leads to a corner for Naples.
Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp did not criticise any of his players by name after the match, but it was still clear: “Just wanting is not enough. Our timing on the defensive was not good,” he said. “We didn’t create many chances, the second half wasn’t okay. It’s always bad to have to say that the goalkeeper is the best man. Today it was like that.”
When he was asked about an extraordinary statistic for Liverpool – the Reds hadn’t fired a shot at the goal – Klopp couldn’t believe it, grabbed the match report and checked the fact. “I don’t know when it was the last time,” he said, “Of course Naples defended well, but we have a big part to play in this statistic.” At least the last sentence was probably related to Salah.
Koulibaly becomes Salah’s nightmare
One reason for Salah’s weak performance was Naples central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who always seemed to know what Salah was up to that evening. Salah started dribbling? Koulibaly took the ball from him. Salah took the ball artistically from the air while jumping? Koulibaly waited on the floor. Salah went up to the header? Koulibaly rose higher.
Salah seemed partly frustrated – by himself, by his fellow players, by the referee. In the run-up to the match, Klopp had tried to denigrate his goalscorer’s thesis of a crisis. Salah is always dangerous and has his offensive scenes, Klopp said. But he also had to admit that Salah was “of course not happy”. “That’s quite normal in his situation. But that’s what I’m here for.” 24Bettle is unique and something very special online casino gaming site.
Klopp now has to build Salah up, with the short hug shortly after the end of the game the problem should not be solved. Maybe a look at the statistics will help to encourage Salah. Last season Salah scored only two goals more than today after seven League and two Champions League matches.