In this player profile piece, new Feudalist Nekzad Bajan (follow him on twitter @nekzaDd) looks at a player who failed to make an impact the last time he joined an English club, but now returns to lofty expectations following a spell in Italy. What do you think of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah? Do you think he is destined for greatness or will he again fail to make an impact in the Premier League?
Liverpool completed the transfer of 25-year old Mohamed Salah on 22 June 2017 on a free transfer from Chelsea, following the capture of Dominic Solanke. The Egypt international signed a five-year contract from Roma for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £34 million.
Salah started off with his footballing career with El Mokawloon at the age of 14. He remained with the Egyptian side until 2012, after which he joined Swiss outfit Basel. The Egyptian enjoyed a promising first season in Switzerland and was also a key member of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League. He then moved to Stamford Bridge in 2014 for a fee believed to be £11 million in January 2014. He scored two goals and had two assists in his 10 appearances but due to lack of first-team opportunities, Salah joined Italian club Fiorentina on loan in February 2015.
Having made a really good early impression in Serie A, he then moved to Roma on a season-long loan, with a view of a permanent move, ahead of the 2015-16 season. Salah had a fantastic first season at Roma and was signed on a permanent deal for a reported £15 million. Last season, the Egyptian produced eye-catching numbers, with 15 goals and 13 assists in 31 league appearances. At international level, he has represented Egypt at U20 and U23 levels and made his senior debut in September 2011. Since then he has scored 29 goals and managed 18 assists on his way towards 53 caps.
Liverpool’s attack consisting of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana could now be considered the most potent in the Premier League with the addition of Salah. The Reds scored the second-highest number of goals in the Premier League last season with 78, and are undoubtedly stronger with the Egyptian flyer in their ranks.
Salah’s main strengths are his blistering pace and mesmeric dribbling ability, while his decision-making in the final third has improved drastically while in Italy. His capability of playing across all the attacking midfield positions just adds to his immense versatility. The Egyptian’s strong foot is the left while he prefers to cut in from the right flank to fire shots and assist team-mates.
Having a player like Salah, who possesses great movement, will allow a lot more space for the likes of Coutinho and Lallana to operate in the Reds’ central midfield. The Egyptian fares pretty well while comparing the underlying stats to Coutinho, Firmino and Mane last season.
Salah is priced at £9.0m in FPL, and that pricetag makes him a fantastic option. His team-mate Mane is the most expensive of the Liverpool quartet costing £9.5m, with Coutinho and Lallana priced at £9.0m and £7.5m respectively. Meanwhile, Brazilian Roberto Firmino has been re-classified as a forward in the game, which detracts from his value but at least prevents more of the Coutinho v Firmino headache for managers last season.
Should Salah establish himself as a regular starter, he will definitely make his way into quite a lot of fantasy squads. Liverpool start their season with favourable fixtures over the first two gameweeks before being tested against the likes of premium sides Arsenal and Manchester City in gameweeks 3 and 4 respectively.
The move to Chelsea perhaps came a bit too early in Salah’s career but he returns to England a much more rounded player having the potential of adding a new dimension to the Liverpool attack. The Egyptian is well aware of the demands of the Premier League and undoubtedly possesses the potential of emerging from the pack to become an elite FPL option.