Much has already been written about the impact that Mo Salah has made on Merseyside this season but what’s arguably more impressive is the development of his role under Jurgen Klopp. For a player that has never scored more than 19 goals in a season, Salah’s attacking prowess has caught almost everyone off guard.
A shot conversion rate of 18.8% with Roma in the 2016/17 season made him one of the most clinical finishers in the world. The statistic emerged that in the last six seasons in the Premier League, only four *players converted more than 18.8% of their goal attempts (*players have to have attempted more than 80 shots).
While this is impressive, Salah has come on leaps and bounds from his time in Italy, in fact, this season, Salah’s conversion rate has rose to 23.7% in the Premier League (118 shots, 28 goals) which is simply put; ridiculous.
The transition from an out-and-out winger to an inside forward has helped get the best out of Salah’s finishing and see him reach his undeniable potential. Harnessing his pace, Salah is able to beat defenders and often finds himself in favourable opportunities to score – only two of his goals this season have come from outside the box. Additionally, from an average of 4.34 shots a game, Salah finds the back of the net 0.93 times,
This change of position gives Salah more time on the ball, something that he requests frequently, demanding the ball to his feet at every given opportunity. With this nigh-on selfishness, Salah will always attempt to dribble directly at defenders and shoot at the optimal time. This is how Salah has raised his performances to the next level and become a success in his second Premier League stint.
Within Jurgen Klopp’s system, Salah has found a perfect match for his high intensity and fast-paced style. It’s common knowledge that the boss loves players with pace; Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Robertson to name a few. With the addition of Salah, Klopp was able to add another cog to the wheel that is his pressing machine. However, even Klopp admitted when Salah joined, the mercurial talent “did not know the way we defend” but he’s adapted fast and times his pressing actions efficiently so as not to waste any energy.
As well as this, the front three have gelled faster than anyone could have imagined and their roles are extremely important. Roberto Firmino dropping deep behind Salah has allowed the Egyptian to in fact be the focal point of Liverpool’s attack despite playing on the right. As I mentioned earlier, Salah wants the ball all the time, so it’s no surprise that Klopp has deployed Salah in this way – the incisive runs, the direct dribbling and quick passing make him the ideal player to lead the frontline.
Ultimately, there are endless amounts of superlatives that can be used to describe Salah’s season thus far and describing the sheer joy in watching him play week-in-week-out is hard to put into words. In another sense, maybe analysing his game is not the best thing we can do as fans – maybe, we should sit back, relax and embrace the brilliance.