Analysis of the stuttering of the beginning of the season, Mohamed Salah

The stage looked set Mohamed Salah To reach new heights Liverpool this chapter.

It was a summer when uncertainty over his future ended as he signed a new three-year contract worth more than £350,000 a week. He finally had The kind of deal he felt recognized the elite status in world football.

In the absence of a major international tournament, the Egyptian striker also got a proper break. He returned to Merseyside refreshed, both physically and mentally, and on a mission to break even more records.

However, that hasn’t happened to him yet. Two goals from the opening six games mark Salah’s smallest start to the season Premier League Campaign. At the same stage a year ago, he had five and in 2020-21, he had six.

when is He shared the Golden Boot in the First Division with Son Heung-min from Tottenham Scoring 23 goals in May, it was the third time he had taken the trophy in five seasons. Just like Jurgen Klopp’s unqualified team, he’s playing some serious moments this time around.

Salah came painfully close to being the Goodison Champion on Saturday when Jordan Pickford His low drive touched deep inside the post in injury time.

It was one of the rare occasions that the FA Player of the Year and ruling football writers got the ball in the kind of central areas where he could really hurt. Everton.

For most of the chaotic derby matches, which somehow ended without goals, Salah remained centered on the right and largely on the flanks. This was not a one time. It’s been a theme that continues through the season’s opening month.

This is not a criticism of Salah and the idea that the 30-year-old has somehow watered down on the back of a massive wage increase is ridiculous. This is not so Revisit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Mesut Ozil.

What’s more, Liverpool, who only got nine points out of a possible 18, are not effectively working as a unit. The balance is not right and tactically speaking, they fail to get the best out of their most powerful offensive weapons.

Mohamed Salah has not yet reached his usual high productivity levels this season (Photo: Ole Scarfe/AFP via Getty Images)

After the draw with Everton, Klopp rejected the idea of ​​asking Salah to work on a larger scale than previously.

“No, not more than other seasons or anything else. I’m not sure what you see there,” the Liverpool boss insisted.

“We want Mo to be there in this position but we also want Mo to have Mo, always have, and oftentimes in central positions too. Today in particular we wanted to use the boys a little more centrally but we didn’t have a lot of time For training, obviously. In fact, we just recovered.

“We talked a lot about it, but I’m not sure I was clear enough in the first half what we wanted. In the moments we played, when Mo fell or when Lucho (Luis Diaz) they fell, after two or three passes, were quite free between the lines because Darwin (Nunes) kept the last line again with his pure presence, and they wished to fall too early. But we didn’t do that much, you’re right.

“I don’t think, in the season, Mo is often too wide, maybe today in a few moments, yes, but he could score again at the last minute.”

In terms of participation, Salah has only had 43 touches against Everton averaging just 47.7 per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season. That’s down from 56 per 90 last season and 54 per 90 in 2021-22.

Mohamed Salah Liverpool

The two graphics below show Salah’s offensive touches in the opponent’s half in the last two seasons.

Mohamed Salah Liverpool

Mohamed Salah Liverpool

Last season, 50 percent of them were in the far right channel when I added the three different regions together. This season, that percentage has jumped to 55 percent. It’s not a huge difference but it does indicate that it has a slightly lower income around the edge of the box.

In 540 minutes of the Premier League this season, Salah has only made five shots on goal. He only hit 2.8 without penalty kicks per 90, down from 4.3 last season. His xG no penalty kicks (expected goals) per 90 goals is at 0.43, down from 0.65 last season – his chances are similar quality but he’s got fewer of them.

In fact, he averages a goal every 270 minutes, having scored a goal every 120 minutes in 2021-22. Of course, after only six games, the sample size is small from a data perspective but the variance is obvious.

Salah has certainly been hampered by Liverpool’s lack of fluency, control and consistency. They don’t find it often enough or fast enough. He is very aloof and very far from goal.

It was a feature of 2021-22 Trent Alexander Arnold He rushed from inside into pockets of space and expertly tied Salah, but the Liverpool right-back was nowhere near his best dynamic level this season. For the second time in a week, he was substituted when Liverpool were looking for a winner.

“It has nothing to do with his performance, even when I know Trent could play better than today,” Klopp said.

The service provided by both first-backs to Liverpool was not good and this shortens the supply line to Salah. With Sadio Mane gone, it’s clear that Liverpool are still adjusting to the very different qualities that Nunez has.

Often on Saturday, the distance between Uruguay and Salah on one side and Diaz on the other was too great. It is a work in progress. Liverpool looks like a team whose identity has changed and they are still dealing with it.

What will help is the return of Thiago, who will resume his full training at Kirkby on Monday. Klopp should also try to reach him New loan signature Arthur quickly. at the sight of Diogo Jota Getting back there late at Goodison was such a big boost.

A sense of perspective is important. Liverpool hit the net three times and Everton goalkeeper Pickford was named Man of the Match for his tournaments, but there are plenty of things to rectify.

High on the list should be the tactical modifications required to fire Salah again.

(Top Image: Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)