The 29-year-old Egyptian is in the form of his life with a series of sparkling displays of late confirming the claim.
Last Sunday’s (Oct 24) hat-trick at Old Trafford in the 5-0 demolition job of Manchester United was all the proof needed to quieten any doubters who still claim the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the game’s optimal performers at the present moment. Both have faded in past months as Salah has flourished.
In week’s previous, Salah displayed his imperious talent with not only sumptuous goals against Manchester City and Watford but devastating contributions to the team; his sublime pass to teammate Sadio Mane to open the scoring in the 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Oct 16, for example, was a mark of true genius and a thing of true beauty.
He is breaking records aplenty resulting in giddy praise from fans, analysts, commentators and, arguably most pertinently, his manager at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp.
“We don’t have to talk about what Ronaldo and Messi did for world football and how they were really dominant,” Klopp said after the Watford game.
“But in this moment it is clear that there is no one better than him [Salah].”
Salah grew up idolising the Brazilian legend Ronaldo and Italy’s Francesco Totti, with the latter becoming a teammate at Roma in time.
He started his career at Al Mokawloon in his homeland before moving to Basel in Switzerland where he shone, resulting in a move to Premier League giants Chelsea. He was used sparingly at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho before being shipped out on loan to Fiorentina then Roma in Italy’s Serie A, with the latter signing him permanently in 2016. It was his form with Roma, helping the team to a second-placed finish and a club record points tally, that saw his move to Liverpool in 2017.
During his debut season at Liverpool he scored 32 goals in 38 games, a feat which saw him win the Premier League Golden Boot and named the PFA Player’s Player of the year. Last season he became the first Liverpool player since the Premier League began in 1992 to score more than 20 goals in three consecutive seasons, eclipsing club legends such as Robbie Fowler, Luis Suarez, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres in the process. His strike against Brentford on Sept 26 saw him named as the fastest Liverpool player to reach the 100 goal mark since Roger Hunt in the 1960s.
With his treble strike last Sunday, Salah became the first opposition player to score in three consecutive matches at Old Trafford and the first to score three goals there since Brazil legend Ronaldo in 2003.
He also became the highest scoring African player in the history of the Premier League with 107 goals, three more than former Chelsea star Didier Drogba. He has now scored in 10 successive games in all competitions, as Liverpool remain unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions.
His overall goal-scoring record since he joined the club in 2017 is a hugely impressive 107 goals in 155 league games, 142 goals in 216 appearances in all competitions. The fee of £43.9 million (B2 billion) Liverpool paid Roma for his services four years ago looks like a comparative steal in hindsight.
Salah’s current deal expires in 2023 and there have been fears he will leave Anfield if he is not paid among the Premier League’s top earners. Klopp, however, is confident his star isn’t going anywhere.
“He enjoys his football and long may it continue. I knew already [he wants to end his career here], I know the situation,” commented the Liverpool boss.
Off the field, Salah has been praised for his tireless charity work and his strong advocacy of women’s equality in the Middle East, something that saw him named amongst Time Magazine’s top 100 influential people in the world in 2019. Following his goal that led Egypt to the 2018 World Cup finals for the first time since 1990, a school in Egypt was named after him.
Renowned TV show host John Oliver wrote the piece on Salah for Time, stating: “Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world.”
No doubt Oliver would be among the first to agree Salah now currently stands alone as the greatest in the world.