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Mo Salah - an era himself

Posted: Oct 25, 2021

Mo Salah is perhaps the best thing in world football today. It is incorrect to term Salah as a thing. But is there any other explanation to his absolute genius? The man is specialising in making the impossible possible at the moment. And comparisons to living beings is becoming increasingly difficult hence. Goal against Watford and brace at Wanda Metropolitano are still fine. Then he rocks up at Old Trafford and wipes the Theatre clean with Red Mancunian cloth. Once, twice and then a jaw droppingly three times!

Finally, like with most things Manchester United, there came global acknowledgement. The world seems to have finally realised the consistent genius of the Egyptian king. And while the headlines are at the expense of the global news generating machine that is the Old Trafford club, there is very little to refute that Mo Salah is very deep in the conversation of best players. Some may very legitimately discord him to the top. And one would be hard pressed to strongly refute that claim in good faith.

If Shakespeare's words that all the world's a stage were true, Mo Salah is currently the undisputed lead actor of this play. Every dialogue of his is an evergreen phrase of life. Every movement a state of the art biomechanics calling out to be studied with care. And every exit before the next scene a celebration of triumph.

Mo Salah - the numbers game

"Salah is on fire," Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had quipped ahead of Sunday's embarrassment. And that very fire burned down his side in the fiercely personal derby. Perhaps even his coaching career at the club he became a legendary player.

Mo Salah "Late in May 1999, Ole scored a goal in injury time..." the song goes, reliving that treble winning night in Barcelona. It may soon be late in October 2021, Ole packed his bags after a Liverpool defeat. Or maybe the United board could pay heed to the travelling Liverpool fans who vociferously chanted for Ole to stay. Either way, it was utterly despicable for those wearing home red in Manchester.

But for the visiting band, it was delirium and more. Especially if you were Mo Salah. Even in that record breaking first season and after, he was admonished for being unproductive against United. But cast all that way as he wheeled away thrice in personal glory, cursing United further into the abyss.

It was nothing out of the extraordinary for the Liverpool forward either. To say he has started this season well would be a gross understatement. If Mo Salah was not already hailed as the Egyptian king, he would be likened to some similarly royal winged being. Salah has 15 goals from 12 games in the 2020/21 campaign. He is ahead of Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Erling Haaland. All Ballon d'Or contenders. Each one of them!

Salah, since his transfer to England has 188 goals and assists in 214 games. That is elite, no second opinion!

Mo Salah - rinse and repeat

SalahOne must thus wonder why Mo Salah has not been serenaded more. And with more verve for longer. There are multiple naunced and many even sociopolitical arguments for the same. However, a good reason for this must be how repetitive Salah has made things look. Run, dribble, body feint, load, shoot and score. That is every game of Mo Salah. Simple enough - rinse and repeat.

Except that this rinse and repeat is mind numbingly difficult. Not one game, not two. Not even one season or two. Mo Salah has been playing consistently well for the fifth consecutive season now. A prime example of Salah's constant brilliance is the recent nugget of history he bagged on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid. Mo Salah became the first Liverpool player in their 129-year history to score in nine consecutive games. And he stretched the streak to ten against United.

Salah is already the third highest goalscorer for Liverpool in the Premier League. And Salah is extremely likely to leave Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler behind in the near future. Mo Salah has two Premier League golden boots in four full seasons. And his goals to game ratio is better than any postwar Liverpool player. There is something magical about Salah. And he has almost made scoring a habit. To the extent that it is to his detriment when he does not. Perhaps even to the extent that when he scores, the reaction is - ah, there again. He always scores. Nothing novel.

Salah, it must be reminded, is not nearly seen in the same light as the other two aforementioned. Not at least outside Merseyside. In those regions of the English north west, though, Mo Salah is hailed as he rightfully must be.

Mo Salah - visual splendour and a catalyst

Mo SalahAnd it is not as though Salah's form is an extension of Liverpool's brilliance. One may call Mo Salah the catalyst on the contrary. Perhaps even call this the age of Mo Salah. Jurgen Klopp's successful turnaround has heavily coincided with Salah's arrival. Much akin to the great Eric Cantona association with Sir Alex that changed the face of the Premier League. Slightly less in terms of the transformative impact on club history but no less in the short term dynamics of football.

First season: Champions League runners up. Second season: 97 points in the Premier League and Champions League winner. Third season: Premier League champion for the first time. Fourth season: team crash lands handicapped by injury, but Salah still scores 31 goals. Mo Salah, thus, is not just any other player for them. He is their legitimate golden boy. The one representative of red rage and bulging pride against all arguments of modern domestic silverware.

And he does it style. There is beauty and magnificence in the way he struts about the pitch. At 5'9" Salah would not be the easiest to spot in a crowd. And so he makes sure he always stands out. Take his goal against City for example. He rolled past the best club in the land much like Pep's team does to their opponents. The only difference was - Mo Salah was the team all on his own.

He rendered the Portuguese duo of Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva pointless. Completely bamboozled Aymeric Laporte, who momentarily thought he was in control. A body feint here and a trick move there. This was after Mo Salah had thudded across the turf to a rising crescendo of watching awe. And there was a moment of celebratory anticipation. Shortly after there was a rupture of joy and befuddlement. What just happened! Salah had taken out the entire City defence in five seconds and scored.

Mo Salah - an era himself

Strength. Poise. Pace. Flex. Twang. Dribble. And then there is his stamina. Mo Salah hares across the pitch. He is tireless. Uniquely, still extremely gracious in movement. And nobody even speaks of technical superiority. His finishing is sublime. Mo Salah possesses everything an attacker needs. Including that sense of inevitable occasion that accompanies every great player.

And we are only slowly waking up now to all his genius. Not just an Egyptian king. Time we call him King. This is the age and era of Mo Salah. And we are lucky to be living in it!