Hurtling towards new records every season hasn’t stopped Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah copping the occasional criticism – this time from former Reds player and current sports pundit Don Hutchinson.
Salah, 27, routinely receives criticism for being too selfish with the ball – the very quality that has helped him become one of the top strikers in the world.
That selfish quality, however, has been described by Hutchinson as an inability to execute short passes – the bread and butter of any accomplished professional footballer.
“It’s Mo Salah that I watch every single week, and his numbers are astonishing, don’t get me wrong, and you can’t take that away from Mo Salah but… you watch Mo Salah and the guy does genius things but he does the most basic things so bad it’s untrue,” said Hutchinson, who played from 1990 to 1994 for Liverpool, on ESPN.
“He can’t pass a ball five yards, he seems to keep playing this ball where he tries to nutmeg everyone from whatever side he’s on, if he’s coming off the right flank on to his left, tries to play it to a striker through a body of players that’s never, ever on.
“And you watch him and go ‘Surely this has been coached’, surely Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff have tried to coach Mo Salah, and he does the basic things really badly, yet his numbers are frightening and he scores a ridiculous amount of goals in the Premier League and the Champions League.”
Hutchinson was speaking about Salah, after discussing which Liverpool players could be sold in the off-season. Much of the rumours to date have centred around Salah’s teammate Sade Mane of Senegal. But Hutchinson suggested Liverpool would be better off selling Salah.
“So I would disagree, I think if you’re going to sell anyone and you had to sell one – don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t sell any if I was Jurgen Klopp – but if one was to go and you offered Mo Salah for someone like Jadon Sancho, I maybe would take that swap.”
Salah was on the scoresheet against Bournemouth on March 7 before the English Premier League (EPL) season was suspended due to the spread of Covid-19, taking his EPL tally to 70.
The strike also moved Salah to second on the all-time list for goals scored for a single club, behind only Alan Shearer who scored 79 goals in his first 100 matches for Blackburn Rovers.
In the process, Salah has passed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Sergio Aguero and Fernando Torres on the list for most goals scored for a single club in their first 100 games.
The ‘Egyptian King’ has also snuck into third place on the top-scorers list this season with his total of 16. Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy leads the way on 19 goals.
If Salah manages to top the goalscoring charts, it will be the third season in a row he has achieved this feat. In his first season for Liverpool in 2017/2018 he notched up an incredible 32 goals and scored 22 in 2018/2019.
Should he go on to win it for the third season in a row, Salah would become the third player in EPL history to do so after Shearer (1994-1997) and Thierry Henry (2003-2006).
Another record in sight for Salah is the quickest to 100 goals for Liverpool across all competitions. Currently, Salah has 91 goals from 143 games, some way ahead of Fowler who brought up his century of goals from 165 matches.
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo