Is this Mohamed Salah's best ever start to a season?

Liverpool's Egyptian hotshot has been in red-hot form

Mohamed Salah has been widely praised for his superb start to the 2021/22 season, but the recognition of his talents has seemingly reached a new level in the past few days after his fabulous goal for Liverpool against Manchester City on Sunday.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool fans will be talking about the goal in the 2-2 draw in "50, 60 years", and described the Egyptian as one of the best players in the world.

He is now being placed in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and is arguably the most in-form player in the world right now.

Is this his best ever start to a season? And does he always come speeding out of the blocks?

2021/22

Fresh from a summer of rest while other Premier League players were involved in international tournaments, Salah has raced to nine goals in nine appearances in all competitions.

The only match he has failed to score in was Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Burnley at Anfield, and he has netted in seven consecutive matches.

Compare that to Tottenham's Harry Kane, who has regularly been the division's most prolific striker, but has often started seasons slowly and is yet to score in the league his campaign (though has netted nine in all matches including three for England).

Salah is joint Premier League top scorer along with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy on six. Salah became the fourth fastest player to score 100 Premier League goals after his strike against Leeds United on September 12.

2020/21

At the nine-match stage of last season, Salah was also on six Premier League goals, including a hat-trick against Leeds United and a double in Aston Villa's 7-2 drubbing of Liverpool. At that point he had scored against 25 of the 26 sides he had appeared against in the Premier League for Liverpool.

The Egyptian went to record frequent scoring spurts and ended up on 31 goals for the season.

2019/20

Salah netted his customary opening day goal against Norwich City but scored only four in his first nine matches in all competitions, including a brace against Arsenal. Liverpool were, however, beaten only once during that period - a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in the Champions League.

He went to finish with 23 goals in 48 appearances and his 19 league goals placed him behind Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy on 23.

2018/19

Questions were being asked whether Salah was going to be a one-season wonder on the back of his incredible form in the 2017/18 campaign.

His early formed gave backing to the suggestion as he scored only three in his first 11 matches, including one on the opening day of the season against West Ham.

His form did improve and he bagged a hat-trick against Bournemouth and ended the season with 31 goals in 59 appearances.

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2017/18

Salah started the season with a goal and never really let up. He scored five in his first nine matches, which is decent, and then the record-breaking form really kicked in, including two sequences where he scored in seven consecutive matches. There were four goals in a match against Watford in March, but Liverpool finished fourth in the table, 25 points behind champions Manchester City, and were beaten in the Champions League final by Real Madrid.

It was, however, the season that Salah introduced himself to Premier League football and did so with a bang. He finished with 47 goals from 56 appearances in all competitions.

Earlier seasons

While his goalscoring exploits before joining Liverpool were never quite as spectacular, he did net four in his first nine games for Roma in 2015/16, and five in the same match period in 2016/17 for the Italians.

Conclusion

It hasn't simply been the number of goals which has made Salah stand out this season, but his all round game - he has three league assists as well and his pass for Sadio Mane's opening goal against Manchester City was inch-perfec. It showed a well-rounded player who, at 29, can contribute in many areas on the pitch and not just in front of goal.

He's also been scoring in the big games and so isn't just a flat-track bully. There was a calm penalty-spot equaliser against ptitle rivals Chelsea and a smart finish against AC Milan in the Champions League having earlier had a penalty saved. And then came the wonder goal against Manchester City. Salah is a player at his peak.

Updated: October 5th 2021, 8:10 AM
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