Heroes And Villains: The Contrasting Fortunes Of Liverpool Duo Sadio Mane And Mohamed Salah After Win Over Fulham
Expect fingernails to have been absolutely withered down on Merseyside, as Liverpool survived a scare at Fulham to propel themselves back to the top of the Premier League table, where they will remain over the international break.
Jurgen Klopp’s side ran out 2-1 winners in West London for those three vital points.
Mohamed Salah however had another day to forget, hitting another blank. The Egyptian has not scored in five consecutive league game (and six overall), for the first time in over three years, since 6th January 2016 with previous side Roma in Serie A.
Salah has now failed to hit the back of the net against Bournemouth, Manchester United, Watford, Everton, Burnley, and now Fulham.
Against the Clarets last week, a 4-2 victory for Liverpool, he got the backing of his gaffer when addressed with questions about his star-man’s mindset amid this disappointing drought.
“Mo Salah for me was the best player on the pitch and he didn’t score," said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp (The Liverpool Echo).
"I am not sure you will see that in a lot of ratings, because he’s a striker and he didn’t score, but we have no problem with confidence."
To no doubt the relief of Liverpool fans everywhere, his teammate Sadio Mane has picked up the baton magnificently and at Craven Cottage bagged the opener and won the penalty for the win.
The Senegalese has nine goals in the Premier League in 2019, the highest tally in the Premier League (alongside Sergio Aguero, though the Argentina has done this with a pair of hat tricks).
Mane now has 17 goals for the season, the same as Salah has managed, and the two are the only African pair in Liverpool’s history to register 40 or more goals for the club.
The winner came after Mane was held back by Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico, with James Milner subsequently putting away the 13th of the last 14 penalties the Yorkshireman has taken in the Premier League. It was interesting to note that it was the clinical attributes of Milner who stepped up for the spot-kick, rather than Salah who has five for the season.
The narrowest of wins certainly eases the burden continuously placed on Salah to lead the line. Against Fulham at Craven Cottage, Salah attempt five shots, three on target. The 26-year-old has nowo missed the opportunity to set a new record for a player to get to 50 Premier League goals for one club the quickest. Alan Shearer still holds that standard, having done so in 66 games for Blackburn Rovers.
Often taking too many touches when it a dangerous threatening position on the attack. He completed absolutely zero successful dribbles, and no key passes, winning only one of his twelve duels with the Fulham line and was dispossessed on four occasions.
A disappointing Sunday for Salah, but with all three points on the road, should Liverpool end their near-three decade hoodoo for the Premier League title, it will ultimately be of little concern.