Mohammad Salah is inarguably Liverpool’s biggest signing & the way he has hit the highest point in a footballer’s career, he hasn’t seemed to stop. The reason why Liverpool have been so dominant and lethal is all primarily because Mohammad Salah’s involvement in the system which Klopp derived & it is through him it executes perfectly. I’m not going to deny the fact that Liverpool is a proper team with every individual having put in their contribution but Mohammad Salah took Liverpool to another level ever since he joined. Many say that Mane’s signing was that moment, to some part, yes but the global appeal was achieved through Mohammad Salah which inclined towards the DEADLIEST FRONT 3 of Liverpool.
Now many of us see Salah as an out & out goal-scorer, someone who is more about goalscoring than as a creative player but is that so? I mean, if we look at his contribution in the Premier League, he has contributed in over 100 goals- in 118 apps he has 75 goals & 28 assists (103 goals tally). In the current season, he has 19 goals & 9 assists in 31 matches; that is 28 goals in 31 matches with an xG of (0.66) per game & an xA of (0.32) per game. (xG = expected goalscoring opportunity- the probability of scoring) (xA= expected assist- the probability of making an assist & the quality of assist)
He’s always involved in the game to either score or assist, sometimes does both & yet his contribution as a creative player gets undermined for some reason and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
The stats I mentioned above aren’t ordinary but world-class in almost every league of Europe let alone in the toughest one but there’s more to Salah’s game that we normally don’t see or pay attention to. I decided to delve into it & I came to the conclusion that Salah follows the footsteps of the GOAT Leo Messi. I know it’s a huge call but it’s true & I’ll explain it with what I researched.
I used Leo Messi as a benchmark because there’s no one like him and even at the age of 33, he’s in a league of his own, I mean 3 goals 0r assist short from 1000 goals contribution, (22 goals & 20 assists in the current season), I mean this guy is an Alien, he defines football & he is the pinnacle of football. (Ronaldo is too & I love them both but Ronaldo has confined himself to a more goalscoring role & at Juventus, just feels the wrong club, a wrong league for him.)
I’ll say it again this is not a comparison on who’s better because no one can compete with Messi, it’s just the way of showing Salah’s influence in the game & his creative side- football is more than just scoring goals because a player could have an excellent individual game and still end up on the losing side.
- Salah has an xG of 0.66 – Messi has an xG of 0.71
- Salah has an xA of 0.32 – Messi has an xA of 0.61
- Conversion of shots to goals = Salah at 15.97% – Messi at 15.49%
- Conversion of shots inside the box = Salah at 35.85% – Messi at 38.46%
- Passes creating danger = Salah at 0.42 – Messi at 0.35
- Expected goal chain value = Salah at 1.37 – Messi at 1.64
- Expected goal build-up = Salah at 3.62 – Messi at 3.55
- Pass completion = Salah at 75.19% – Messi at 80.57%
- Pass completion into the opponent box = Salah at 44.4% – Messi at 38.46%
- Pass Progression Value (PPV) = Salah at 0.36 – Messi at 0.81
(PPV = metric which measures the ability of a player to make a pass in dangerous zones)
Defense (excluded last game)
- Tackles = Salah with 75 tackles – Messi with 54 tackles
- Blocks = Salah with 1 block – Messi with 0
- Aerial Duels = Salah has won 6 – Messi has won 7
- Pass Interception = Salah with 26 – Messi with 24
(These stats are taken from our friends at one-versus-one, you should definitely check them out!)
Does it really look like that Salah doesn’t have the creative skills with the stats above? It’s clear that he doesn’t get enough praise for his creative side in the game & the big influence he has in the goals we score, without Salah our system gets disruptive, we can see that when he doesn’t play and our front 3 doesn’t work without him well. I know, it can be said for Firmino & Mane as well but Salah just brings more threat & drags defenders to him more.
Salah’s creative/playmaking skills and involvement in goals (the ones he doesn’t score or assist) is humongous- almost 42% of his passes in a game creates danger of getting the ball in the back of the opponent’s net with at least 36% (PPV) of the passes in a dangerous zone.
Salah’s participation in the expected goal chain value (passing sequences that lead to a shot or goal) is that of at least 1 pass/game (that is also in around the final 3rd). This all speaks volumes of his presence in the game because every goal Liverpool score is highly influenced by Salah- he’s always involved in the build-up which leads to a goal (at least 3-4 passes).
Also, factor in the premier league settings where it’s so difficult to achieve all that when other teams are so good with such advanced analytics & statistics staff, world-class managers & an extremely physical & fast-paced football where you don’t get enough time to do your thing.
Just imagine Salah playing in La Liga, pretty sure those stats will be more, no?
This is mind-boggling when you look all of that against the GOAT Messi- you see how good Salah really is & how he is following in the footsteps of Messi & there’s a reason why he’s called the “EGYPTIAN KING”.
Salah under Klopp became a different beast- he compliments Klopp’s system & the system compliment’s him, a world-class impact player in every aspect and Liverpool’s very own GLOBAL SUPERSTAR.