Mohamed Salah has lit up the Premier League – as well as European football – ever since he moved to Liverpool in 2017 for £36.9m.
His move to Anfield came after he first failed to make the grade at Chelsea, making just 19 appearances in total, before rebuilding his reputation with AS Roma in Serie A. And even though he plundered 34 goals in 83 games in his time with the Giallorossi, there may have been some people questioning whether he would be able to cut it in the English top flight.
Two Premier League Golden Boots, a Champions League medal and 85 goals in 132 matches for the Reds have provided an emphatic answer. Very rarely has a new arrival made such a quick and telling impact. Salah’s performances have not only put him on the map on these shores, but also across the planet. In the last two terms, he has finished sixth and fifth in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Those displays have come from the right wing predominantly. In 225 games across his career in that position – as per Transfermarkt – he has 103 goals and 57 assists. He has become well known for his ability to cut in and score from that role (look no further than his stunning strike against former side Roma in the Champions League), and has found his place in Jurgen Klopp’s famed front three.
However, whilst he does have a lot more games in that position, his record is actually far better somewhere else on the pitch – centre-forward. In 32 games as the main striker, he has 28 goals and 10 assists. That, therefore, works out at a record far over one goal contribution per match, which is considerably more than he averages on the right flank.
The majority of those games (24) have come for his current club, as well, which shows that he is proven there in the Premier League. It is actually hard to believe, but we may not have seen the best of the former FC Basel man yet. His talent has shown that he is adept on the flank, but incredibly, he may not have been playing in his best position all along.
With Roberto Firmino – the 17th best player according to the 2019 Ballon d’Or rankings – as the current number nine in the red half of Merseyside, it would be a big call for Klopp to drop him out of the side. But with Jadon Sancho being linked to the club, it would allow the 52-year-old to play both the English youngster and Salah if the former were to make the switch from Borussia Dortmund.