With the Reds in action against the Cherries live on BT Sport, all eyes will be on the sensational Salah
Liverpool v Bournemouth, Saturday 14 April, 5pm, BT Sport 1/HD (CH 531/527)
It’s been a Premier League campaign blessed with an abundance of match-winning talent – but as we hurtle towards the end of the season, thoughts are turning to who should be named the top flight’s top star.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is among the obvious contenders, but is the man of the Mo-ment really the Premier League’s best? Two sports writers go head to head in an attempt to settle the argument…
YES! Salah reigns supreme
He’s the goal machine
This season, no other Premier League player has been as stone-cold lethal in front of goal as Salah. With 29 league goals under his belt, the pacy Egyptian is well on his way to finishing the campaign as the Premier League’s top scorer. That’s nearly twice as many goals as Romelu Lukaku, nearly three times as many as Álvaro Morata, and five more than Harry Kane. Plus, he’s registered nine assists, and he’s also on course for Europe’s Golden Shoe. And he only cost £36 million!
Pressure? What pressure?
Props to Liverpool’s “Fab Three”, but this terrific trio is also a slightly unbalanced one. Roberto Firmino has scored 14 league goals this term (solid) while Sadio Mané has netted nine (not so solid). All of which makes you wonder where the Reds would be without that man Salah. Not that this seems to weigh on the winger’s mind – he’s gone about his business with pure joy, his exuberant performances guiding Liverpool to the brink of UEFA Champions League qualification. And he only cost £36 million!
He’s the closest thing we have to Messi
Balance, control, lightning pace, dead-eyed finishing… Salah is equipped with every devastating tool a player needs to crack the Premier League. Other players in the top flight shine in different ways, but Salah’s ability to make a beeline for goal and find the net is remarkable even in a league packed with remarkable talent. He makes it look so easy, so inevitable. And he only cost £36 million!
NO! De Bruyne tops the lot
We need to talk about Kevin
Like Salah, the heartbeat of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side has been compared to Lionel Messi this season. Unlike Salah, Kevin De Bruyne has a League Cup winner’s medal in his pocket and a Premier League winner’s medal in the post. Plus, the Belgian international leads the Premier League in assists, crosses and through balls this season. If you’re looking for an influencer in the biggest games, KDB is your man.
Liverpool aren’t the champions
Can a footballer be named the best player in the Premier League if they didn’t win the Premier League? Frankly, they shouldn’t – the title is what it’s ultimately all about, as the past three winners of the PFA Player Of The Year awards (N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Eden Hazard) will attest. And while Salah is a revelation, the signing of the season, the league’s top scorer, African Player of the Year and many other things, he’s not a Premier League champion.
Salah’s not quite risen to the big occasion
Yes, he scored twice in a draw with Tottenham. Yes, he scored in a draw with Chelsea. And yes, he put the Reds 4-1 up in that win against Manchester City. But if you can remember a game from this season when Salah has dragged Liverpool to victory against one of their biggest rivals, then you either view Leicester City as a big rival or you’re wearing a pair of red-tinted glasses.
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