As Mo Salah bent his 20-yarder into the top corner of Fraser Forster’s goal, I vented my astonishment to those around me in the Anfield Main Stand. “He’s done it again!”
The thing is, there’s nothing about the Egyptian’s play that smacks of prolific goal scorer. Unlike Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Ian Rush, Mo is not an out and out striker. He was signed as a wide player -- and performs as one.
On the face of it, Klopp bought Mo Salah for his pace and we assumed he would complement Sadio Manio on the other flank and, indeed, that’s what he does.
Except, his success sorry is emerging in a completely unexpected way. He’s scoring for fun -- and his goals are coming in all ways and shapes. He even scored with a super header at Leicester!
So what is it about Mo Salah’s attributes over and above his incredible pace? Here are a few aspects of his play to provide food for thought.
Firstly, his terrific body strength. He rarely gets brushed aside so that he’s not one for readily losing possession.
Secondly, and allied to this, is the way he traps a ball. He’s very old-fashioned in that he regularly performs this action with the raised sole of his foot rather than the side. It’s the way we were told to do it when we were kids in the 50s and 60s. Yesterday’s initial goal was a classic example.
Thirdly, and by no means least, the Egyptian has terrific awareness of what’s going on around him. As he storms forward at full pelt towards the opposition penalty area, defenders have no idea whether he’s pass or shoot. That puts fear into them.
There are no airs and graces about Mo Salah. He could never be accused of arrogance, yet he has every right to be that way.
And with Sadio Mane doing an identical job on the other flank, once again Liverpool have an attacking force that opponents are fearful of. And that’s before we mention Coutinho, Firmino and Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter showing all the signs of stepping up to the same level. Southampton’s normally unruffled and well-organised defence likely displayed signs of a few soiled underpants!
As for the Reds overall, they struck me as being as well-balanced as I’ve seen them from 1 to 11 and it was only when we glanced at the sub’s bench, that it was possible to fully appreciate the strength in depth that Klopp now has at his disposal. And that’s without not-considered Lallana, Ings and Danny Ward along with countless Academy starlets, three of whom are already more than well known for their exploits.
In case you haven’t heard, the Reds are now 5pts clear at the top of the u-23 league after demolishing 2nd place Everton 4-0 yesterday.
These are good days. Let’s enjoy them while we can!