Mo Salah pictured during Liverpool's game with Everton on Wednesday. Alamy Stock Photo
talking point

There's just one obvious candidate for Premier League player of the season so far

Mo Salah has been in blistering form for Liverpool.

ON WEDNESDAY night, as Liverpool were convincingly beating rivals Everton 4-1, Jamie Carragher wrote what felt like a pointed tweet.

It read: “Best player in the world, Mohamed Salah.”

Carragher may be a Reds legend, but Salah’s form has been so phenomenal that plenty of neutrals would agree with this opinion.

And of course, the context is significant.

Salah was recently deemed the seventh-best player in the world by Ballon d’Or judges.

The Egyptian finished behind Jorginho, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.

Yet, on current form at least, it seems doubtful that Jurgen Klopp would be willing to swap his star man for any of the players mentioned above.

Salah seems to have been hamstrung by two factors — he didn’t have a Euros or Copa America in which to show off his talent in the summer, and by Liverpool’s standards, it was a sub-par season last campaign, as they finished third in the table and exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Yet though his lack of trophies was generally perceived as a black mark against him, you could also argue the fact that Salah scoring 22 goals in the Premier League alone in a team that often struggled perhaps strengthens his cause.

Only Harry Kane, with 23, netted more, and while the Tottenham star has failed to build on that achievement, managing just one goal so far from 12 Premier League games, the Egyptian is looking better with each fixture.

With 13 goals plus eight assists in 14 games, no other individual has come close to emulating his feats this season in England’s top-flight — Jamie Vardy, with nine goals and one assist is the next highest on the list.  

Salah in general has been a phenomenon since arriving at Liverpool, registering 108 goals in 159 games in the Premier League alone.

His worst season so far in terms of finding the net saw him score 19 goals in 34 games as Liverpool won the title.

An incredible tally of 32 goals in 36 league games saw him named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in the 2017-18 campaign, yet there is still a sense that Salah is somewhat underrated.

Despite scoring consistently throughout his spell with Liverpool, he has only made the PFA Team of the Year in two out of four seasons.

He is also seldom talked about as being among the very best players in the world — Salah has never finished in the top three of the Ballon D’Or voting, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Jorginho and Neymar preferred, as well as the obvious fact that Ronaldo and Messi have deservedly had a stranglehold on the top-two spots for much of the last decade.

Yet the Premier League is now undoubtedly the best in the world, and Salah scoring consistently in that environment is surely equally or even more impressive than comparable feats in Serie A or La Liga.

As with Carragher, Klopp does not feel Salah’s position in the Ballon D’Or voting accurately reflected his achievements over the past 12 months.

“It is not in my hands. Is the Ballon d’Or a journalists’ vote? Then yeah, don’t ask me, it’s your fault,” he told reporters. “If you think he should be higher up, then you should convince your colleagues.

“You can give it to Lionel Messi for the career he has had, all these kinds of things, but then don’t give it to Robert Lewandowski this time — so it’s quite tricky to win it at all. Mo definitely should have been higher up.”

Salah, at 29, is arguably hitting career-best form — if you’re in any doubt, watch the ruthless goal he scored against Everton. It has been routinely described by reporters as resulting from a ‘Seamus Coleman error’ and while the observation is true, Salah still had so much work to do and 99% of players would not have been able to punish the Donegal native in the manner he did.

Of course, with Chelsea and Man City also putting up strong title challenges thus far, it’s entirely conceivable that the Liverpool star finishes the season trophyless once more.

Either way though, Salah’s individual brilliance is becoming harder to overlook.

Upcoming Premier League fixtures (all games kick off at 3pm unless stated otherwise):


West Ham v Chelsea (12.30)
Newcastle v Burnley
Southampton v Brighton
Wolves v Liverpool
Watford v Man City (17.30)


Leeds v Brentford (14.00)
Man United v Crystal Palace (14.00)
Tottenham v Norwich City (14.00)
Aston Villa v Leicester City (16.30)


Everton v Arsenal (20.00)

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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