Liverpool’s star forward has hit a bit of a rough patch in recent weeks. The Egyptian has not looked himself of late and his form has generated a lot of talk online amongst the fanbase. We take a closer look at this dip in form.

Between August and early January, it was widely accepted that Mohamed Salah was the best player in the world. He was operating on a whole other level to the rest of the world. Before he departed for AFCON, he struck 23 goals and laid on 9 assists in 26 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.

32 goal contributions in 26 appearances underlined his world class status. He opened up a gap at the top of the Premier League Golden Boot race that has not been closed till date. He’s in line to win his third Premier League Golden Boot, a feat which should put any talks of a dip in form into perspective.

He departed for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) on top of the world, signing off with a stunning goal at Chelsea. A draining tournament saw him play all but one minute of Egypt’s run to the final. The Pharoahs went to extra time in each of their knockout matches including the grand finale.

The final was particularly heartbreaking, with Salah losing out on penalties to club teammate Sadio Mané’s Senegal. Mo didn’t even get to take the fifth penalty, with two of his teammates missing their spot kicks to hand Mané the opportunity to score the winning penalty.

Salah retuned to Merseyside straight after the final and came off the bench against Leicester City, just four days after the disappointment outcome in the final. His commitment has been exemplary. There’s a bit of a misconception that this dip in form came after the AFCON tournament.

That isn’t entirely true though. Post AFCON, Salah seemed fine. In the aforementioned cameo against Leicester, he looked like a ma possessed as he struck the woodwork and tested Kasper Schmeichel a number of times. Barely a week later, he was scoring at the San Siro.

That goal turned out to be the one that won the tie after Inter’s 1-0 win at Anfield. He followed his strike at San Siro with a classy finish against Norwich. He was voted Man of the Match on the club’s official website and also won the club’s Goal of the Month award.

Next came Leeds United, in what was a huge chance for the Reds to cut the gap to Manchester City. Salah was once again superb, scoring twice from the spot and and providing the assist for Matip’s goal as the title race was reignited. He was aptly named Man of the Match.

At that point nobody thought there was anything wrong with him post-AFCON, as he looked like the same old Salah in the 5 matches he was involved in after the tournament. 4 goals and an assist in those 5 appearances was certainly no bad form.

When you study the numbers closely, this perceived dip begun in the League Cup final and has been evident since. From the League Cup final and onwards, Mo has only found the back of the net once (the penalty against Brighton) in 7 appearances.

Before AFCON, he was averaging a goal involvement every 70 minutes. In the 5 matches post-AFCON (before the League Cup final), he averaged a goal involvement every 78 minutes. That figure has fallen off a cliff from the League Cup final onwards (a goal involvement every 518 minutes).

It is a similar story when you look at his chance creation stats. He was averaging a key pass every 49 minutes pre-AFCON. That figure peaked to a key pass every 43 minutes in the first 5 matches post-AFCON. From the League Cup final, it’s one every 65 minutes.

It’s hard to ascertain what exactly has led to this slump. He’s played a lot of football for the club this season, with a gruelling international tournament crammed in as well. Not to mention another mentally draining failure with his country when they got beaten on penalties again by Senegal in the World Cup playoff.

With all the brouhaha surrounding Salah waiting to take the fifth penalty in the AFCON final, Mo went first this time round and missed. Further misses paved way for Sadio to once again tuck home the winning penalty. The impact of these two defeats can’t be underestimated.

Salah carries the hopes and burdens of his nation, and for him to suffer such heartbreak twice in a matter of weeks is certain to affect him mentally. It’s draining to put so much effort into a dream only to see it crumble at the very last hurdle. Mo knows he’ll be 34 by the time the next World Cup rolls around.

It’s a huge disappointment for him to miss out on the showpiece when he is in his prime. His well publicised desire to win the Ballon d’Or has taken a battering with those two defeats to Senegal and this recent barren spell.

It also doesn’t help that he’s currently embroiled in a contract ‘saga’ with the club’s hierarchy. Rumours are rife of exorbitant wage demands that threaten to break the club’s wage structure (and let’s not mention his agents antics on Twitter). That has rubbed some fans the wrong way and seen them lose patience with the player.

Mo is no stranger to lean spells though. Since his first season at the club where he scored a staggering 44 goals, he’s been judged much harsher than other players. At the start of the 2018/19 season, a lot was made of a four game spell without a goal. That was till he ended that mini drought with a strike against Huddersfield.

Later that season, he would go 8 games in all competitions (6 in the PL) without a goal. That generated a lot of talk till he ended it in style with a breakaway goal at Southampton. He again went six league games without a goal last season before ending it with a classy brace against West Ham.

Firmino has played 1047 minutes of football this season.

Salah has played 1041 minutes just for Egypt.


Dry spells are completely normal and happen to even the very best players. Rather than question Salah or even call for him to be dropped for our biggest game of the season this Sunday, now is the time to rally round him and help him get back to his best. A flying Mo Salah can only be a good thing for all of us.


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