The greatness of Mohamed Salah shows no sign of slowing down

It’s reached the stage where it’s a genuine surprise if Mohamed Salah goes through a game and doesn’t register a goal contribution of some kind.

The 'Egyptian King' has started this campaign in imperious form for Liverpool, his future seemingly committed to Liverpool for at least one more season.

From that opening game at Chelsea onwards, Salah has had the bit between his teeth, standing tall as a leader on the pitch, and doing his utmost to ensure that last season’s misery is forgotten about.

He has exceptionally high standards and Liverpool's shortcomings in 2022/23 will have hurt him.

In Sunday’s 3-1 win over West Ham in the Premier League, Salah was at it again, firing home a penalty to give the Reds the lead, having won the spot-kick himself with some typically quick feet.

READ MORE: Liverpool 3-1 West Ham – Player Ratings

The 31-year-old has had his issues with penalties in recent times, missing against the likes of Bournemouth and Arsenal - he scored from the rebound with another saved effort against the Cherries, too – but he is an individual who never doubts himself and his finish was emphatic.

Salah was a major threat all afternoon against a dangerous Hammers team, playing two key passes and creating a couple of big chances, and once the final whistle blew, he had another individual achievement to celebrate.

He has now registered at least one goal contribution in his last 12 consecutive Premier League appearances, which is a measure of the remarkable consistency with which he performs.

Perhaps what makes it even more impressive is the fact he has matched a record set by…himself!

Yes, Salah is now so bored with rival players’ accolades that he is simply deciding to match himself instead.

In fact, he is the first player in the history of the Premier League to achieve this feat on two separate occasions, meaning the likes of Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and many other true greats of the game are trailing in his wake.

Yet despite this world-class brilliance that we witness on an almost weekly basis from Salah, there is still a nagging feeling that he is underrated and that his achievements go unnoticed among the wider footballing public.

This is a living legend that we are watching week in, week out, but does he get enough praise?

Liverpool fans adore him, of course, and there are millions out there who rate him very highly, but he should now be spoken about as one of the greatest attacking players in the history of English football.

He forever gets compared to someone like Eden Hazard, for example, but while the Belgian was a magnificent player in his prime, he isn’t fit to lace Salah's boots when it comes to their overall impact in their respective careers.

Similarly, it doesn’t take much for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish to be spoken of as special talents when they hit a good run of form – they are English, so bias from the media is clearly on show – when neither are even remotely close to Salah’s level.

This is now his seventh season in a Reds shirt and he has racked up a stunning tally of 190 goals and 78 assists in that time. He has never scored fewer than 19 goals in the league, and 23 in all competitions, and he is slowly evolving into even more of a creative force over time.

Salah’s goalscoring record defines him, but much like Lionel Messi, the quality of his passing can go under the radar. Few players in the modern game are more capable of splitting a defence open and producing a piece of instinctive magic to tee-up a teammate.

There are some, whether it be rival supporters or pundits, who seem desperate to start writing Salah off now that he is in his 30s, but he is so driven that he won’t be slowing up any time soon.

That’s now four goals and assists piece already this season, in just six starts, and assuming he avoids serious injury, it would be a shock if it wasn’t another 30-goal and 15-assist campaign for him, or something around those numbers.

For all the continued influence of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk – the former is irreplaceable and in the form of his life – and the already-huge influence of Dominik Szoboszlai, Salah still feels like Liverpool’s star man.

The other four attacking options are fantastic options in their own right, but none possess his will to win, his relentlessness in the final third and the fear factor that he strikes into opposition sides.

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah's partnership with Darwin Nuñez gives Liverpool unpredictable danger

If Liverpool are to mount a genuine Premier League challenge in 2023/24, they will need their iconic attacker to be at his best, and the early evidence suggests that that will be the case.

The biggest shame in all of this is that it does feel likely that this will be Salah’s final season in a Liverpool shirt.

It’s far from impossible that he stays beyond 2024, of course, but Saudi interest will return next summer and it is easy to see his head being turned.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool would also see it as the last chance to earn mega money for their most prized player, allowing them to keep rebuilding the squad and aiding Jurgen Klopp’s 2.0 chapter at Anfield.

For that reason, we have to enjoy every last second that we have watching Salah for the Reds, making sure that his genius isn’t only fully appreciated when he leaves.

READ MORE: How will Liverpool replace Mohamed Salah when he finally leaves?

This is arguably a top-three player of all time for Liverpool that we are getting to watch at the peak of his powers, and footballers of this ilk come around very rarely.

There have been the Billy Liddell, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes, Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez eras at Anfield, and for all the many legends to have played under Klopp, this period belongs to Salah, and always will.

In truth, he should be universally seen as the Premier League’s standout player over the past six years, too, along with Kevin De Bruyne, but scandalously, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Enjoy Salah while he’s here. There won’t be another one like him.

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