Dubai: When Mohammad Salah was announced as England’s PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night, it came as little surprise.
That is despite the competition he was up against. Kevin De Bruyne has been a standout among standouts for Manchester City, United’s goalkeeper David de Gea has been sublime and Tottenham striker Harry Kane put in the kind of campaign that has England fans optimistic ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
None of them came close to the Liverpool’s Egyptian magician.
Salah matched a Premier League record for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said about trying to smash the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Mohammad Salah controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, on April 21, 2018. AFP
Salah has also scored seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s quarter-final thrashing of City.
In Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom there was that worrying sign that Liverpool still have that inconsistent streak that hurts them so often in the Premier League.
Even then, you could hear the anticipation in the crowd every time Salah got the ball. Such is the expectancy that he can turn any situation into a moment of sheer brilliance and magic.
Liverpool cannot afford to have an off day at this stage of a knockout tournament such as the Champions League.
Take your eye of the ball and Roma can crush you, as they proved against the mighty Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
Should Salah and Liverpool make it to the final, if they put in a sloppy 45 minutes like they did against West Brom and they can kiss goodbye to European Cup No. 6 and both the German and Spanish sides have an attacking front-line just as prolific as that of the Reds.
A certain Mr Salah will need to be on the top of his game if he wants a Champions League winners’ medal. Given his form, few would doubt he can deliver this week and then in Kiev.