Paul Tomkins is one of the best writers on Liverpool you’ll find anywhere, and we’d urge you to check out his website and subscribe, if you have the time.
He writes lengthy, analytical opinion pieces and is usually spot on. Like us, he’s innately positive about the goings on under Jurgen Klopp, but has made a really interesting claim about Mo Salah.
The Egyptian is on seven goals this campaign and has still been our best attacker, all things considered. But the innocent, happy go lucky winger now looks like a goal hungry, media-weathered forward – desperate to find the back of the net.
Tomkins reckons Salah’s incredible individual season in 2017/18, in which he bagged 44 goals, has maybe gone to his head, due to the worldwide recognition it brought him.
“The once-humble Mo is even trying to score direct from corners, which is just not acceptable; doing it once for Egypt against part-timers is not the same as being professional at this level, with three or four attempts to score now in the last few games,” he writes. “That’s schoolboy football. He’s a superb player, whom I love dearly, but he needs to get his head right. Most of his other shots tonight were fair to be taken, but that was just lame….
“This could sum up Mo Salah, who is far from a natural egotist,” Tomkins continues, later in his piece. “He’s a good lad. But as soon as the battle with Harry Kane got ramped up last season he lost sight of the team ethic. He invited pressure onto his own shoulders, too, by making it a dual. (Shoulders which then literally met Sergio “Pig’s Heart” Ramos.) Again, don’t get me wrong – I love Mo. But he’s changed; success changes everyone, until someone reminds them to shake it off and get back to what made us successful.”
This isn’t necessarily a criticism of the 26-year-old, but a statement of the obvious. Salah arrived in England as a failed Chelsea attacker. He’s now up for the Ballon D’or. Of course it’s going to have changed him, when you consider the spotlight on his every move, goal, or miss, is so much brighter in such a short space of time.
It’s up to Klopp, the club, the fans and his team-mates to keep Salah’s head in the right place.
His ability and skill-set is world-class, but he needs to start channelling it for the side’s benefit only.
Hopefully against Fulham, we’ll see the Egyptian King smiling and back amongst the goals.