Is Mohamed Salah’s predictability holding him back this season?

Mohamed Salah is arguably Liverpool’s greatest goalscorer in the Premier League era but could his lack of versatility and a sense of predictability be holding the Reds back this season?

The Egyptian has scored the most goals of any player in England’s top division this term, with 13 goals to his name.

Since signing for a measly £34million, he has outscored every player in the Premier League with ease and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

Yet I think his inability to play with both feet at times has caused him to become too easy to predict and in a period where Liverpool are lacking creativity, Salah might be holding the Reds back somewhat.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 4, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MICHAEL STEELE/AFP.

It pains me to say it, but Manchester United are playing with a fluidity and freedom in attack that has disappeared from Liverpool’s play since they hammered Crystal Palace 7-0 at Selhurst Park before Christmas.

That was a display that had movement between the lines, the attackers were interchanging with each other which made it difficult for the defending side to mark the Liverpool forwards.

In the last three PL games, namely against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton, Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson seemed to be the only players on the pitch that were looking to create space.

It’s these sorts of games where Salah can go missing at times, touching the ball far less than he should be. Against Southampton and West Brom, he had just 39 and 32 touches respectively while Mane had 66 and 69.

Liverpool
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 04: Sadio Mane of Liverpool is challenged by Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium on January 04, 2021 in Southampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY NAOMI BAKER/GETTY IMAGES.

Salah’s inability to rely on his right foot means he can oftentimes be easy to read and this predictability has been an issue the last couple weeks. Defenders know that Liverpool will try and attack down the left as Mane and Robertson can combine far more effectively than TAA and Salah.

The Egyptian isn’t solely to blame – he can hardly be expected to score or assist in every game and is the leading goalscorer as I mentioned before. Jurgen Klopp needs to address his side’s creativity issue ASAP as, without a strong backline in the absence of van Dijk and Gomez, attack really is the Reds’ best form of defence.

Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri are Liverpool’s best creative options while Naby Keita is out and so Klopp needs to put his faith in them.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 11: Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield on November 11, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ALEX LIVESEY/GETTY IMAGES.

Liverpool must beat Manchester United on Sunday to return to the top of the Premier League table after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat Burnley 1-0 to go three points clear of the Anfield outfit.

Klopp’s selection in the middle of the park will be crucial to determining who will leave Anfield with the three points.

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Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.
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