Mohamed Salah ended his recent goal ‘drought’ in emphatic fashion on Tuesday night with a brace against Manchester United, reaching the 30-goal mark in the process. The Egyptian had been without a goal from the Reds’ previous six games, while he hadn’t scored for 11 matches, prior to his side’s 4-0 thrashing of the Red Devils.
With Jurgen Klopp ‘s side chasing an unprecedented quadruple, the 29-year-old’s return to scoring form is well-timed. After all, Liverpool, who currently trail Man City by one point at the top of the Premier League are in Merseyside derby action at home to Everton in their next outing before taking on Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals. Meanwhile, they also have an FA Cup final against Chelsea to prepare for next month.
Despite his recent drought, the forward is still comfortably the Reds’ leading goalscorer this season, while he stands five clear in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals. With at least nine matches left to play in all competitions, Salah will be looking to add him to his totals and aid his side’s pursuit of silverware.
However, while he had previously been on course for a record-breaking campaign in front of goal, he now looks unlikely to be able to match his total of 32 Premier League goals, and 44 from all competitions, from his first season at Anfield.
of course, Salah was never going to be able to keep up his sensational form from the start of the season, having scored 15 goals from his first 12 appearances. But there are a number of reasons which could explain the forward’s drop off in form in recent months, from uncertainty over his future to simple fatigue.
He has twice suffered international heartache in recent months, losing to Senegal on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations final in February before missing a spot-kick against the same opponents when failing to qualify for the World Cup last month. He also played 120 minutes four times in 12 days, before going the distance in both the League Cup final and final World Cup qualifying phase.
Meanwhile, with his current deal expiring in 2023, his agent confirmed earlier this year that contract talks with the club had broken down, with the 29-year-old having no intention of signing the last offer put to him in December. Yet Salah recently insisted that the speculation regarding his future was not distracting him.
“No, not at all,” he told Sky Sports earlier this month. “I talk to the manager from time to time, I’m very professional. I know my job very well. I’m almost here the first one and the last one to leave.
“I know what I am doing. I’m not bothered about that (the contract talks). I’m just focusing on the team, that’s the most important thing for me, focused to win trophies. And I’m giving everything for the club.”
Fortunately for Liverpool and for Salah, his return to goalscoring form has coincided with the business end of the season, coming at a time when his side need such strikes more than ever if they to win the trophies the forward is currently focused on.
But Salah isn’t the only player to have endured a drop-off in form in 2022 following an explosive start to the season. Or he the only one to get back on the goal trail when it really matters.
Fabio Carvalho is on the verge of a move to Liverpool this summer when his Fulham contract expires, having seen a move on January transfer deadline day fail to be completed before the window closed. Meanwhile, the ECHO recently reported he is set to move to Anfield in a deal that could be worth up to £7.5m .
The Portugal Under-21s international has enjoyed an impressive season for Fulham to earn the interest of the Reds in the first place, registering 10 goals and seven assists from 34 appearances to help the Cottagers clinch promotion to the Premier League. However, he recently admitted the speculation regarding his future and a move to Liverpool had affected his form.
“I’ve tried not to let it affect me but I’m only human,” he said, speaking to the official Fulham matchday programme. “I’m obviously aware of those stories, even if it’s only subconsciously. I think it has affected me a bit.
“But what I can say is that I’m determined to keep working hard for Fulham. Whenever I step out on to the pitch wearing a Fulham shirt, I will give it my all. As far as the future goes, whatever happens, happens My focus is on the here and now.”
Since scoring against Man City at the Etihad in early February, in his first appearance since his initial move to Anfield had collapsed, the 19-year-old had gone on a 12-game goalless run. However, he returned to form last week with promotion to the Premier League in sight.
Carvalho opened the scoring for Fulham with a well-taken effort away at Derby County on Good Friday, in a game where a win would have sealed promotion, only for the Rams to fight back to win 2-1 at their Championship survival on the line at the time. Meanwhile, he followed that up by scoring in a 3-0 win over Preston North End on Tuesday to help seal the Cottagers’ return to the Premier League.
With four games of the Championship season remaining, Carvalho will be looking to finish his Fulham career in style by helping them clinch the title. And then it’s onto Anfield, where he’s set to learn from playing alongside Salah. And if the duo’s performances in 2022 are anything to go by, it’s clear that all players are only human.
But at the same time it reiterates one thing. Form is temporary, class is permanent.