By Connor Varnish – cvarn4
The Reds started off the early weeks of 2018/2019 league campaign flying high with some fantastic results and telling victories.
This mood has slightly altered, however, as some fans have grown rather weary considering the latest run of form Liverpool have found themselves in over the past few results.
With an early exit in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea, an away defeat at Napoli in the Champions League, and mixing in two draws in the Premier League against Chelsea and City, some have been quick to point fingers at Liverpool’s front line as they appear to lack the fire power and production that was on display so much of last season.
A lot of those fingers have been pointed at Liverpool and Egyptian sensation, Mohamed Salah. Salah has found himself in somewhat of a slump, or at least that is what the vast majority of the media is calling it.
Yes, I’m sure Mohamed Salah himself would certainly consider it a slump even by his own high standards, especially after his record breaking form of last season across all competitions. But is it really all doom and gloom when it comes to Mo Salah’s production thus far?
With wide acceptance, it appears as though a large worry with Salah’s performances are down to his decision making in the final third of the pitch. At the present moment, it’s as though he’s not quite showing the same amount of confidence or comfort-ability on the ball as he was last year.
The Egyptian continues to make threatening runs and work tirelessly with the other forwards to open lanes and create promising chances for his fellow forwards, but it’s just not coming off as well as we would hope as of now.
Perhaps a key element in midfield is hindering the production of the forward line. The absence of last season’s breakout star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the midfield is hurting not only Mo Salah’s output offensively, but undoubtedly Firmino’s and Mane’s as well.
Last season the Ox and Salah forged quite the understanding with one another, as Oxlade Chamberlain’s ability to win the ball back high up the pitch and drive forward at the defence seems to be exactly what this team is missing currently.
Another possibility of the out of form Salah could simply be due to a World Cup hangover, as Salah visibly played hurt representing Egypt. It is quite feasible that Salah has truly not rested properly since and is burnt out from improper recovery time.
An additional related issue possibly impacting Salah’s form could be his ongoing feud with the Egyptian FA, as they clearly don’t see eye to eye over a few matters that Salah has voiced his displeasure with. How have these possible obstacles affected Mo Salah’s current output, though?
Lets briefly compare Salah’s form of last season to this season to gauge just how much the Egyptian is struggling, if at all. Throughout the first eight league games Salah has three goals and one assist, while last season through the first eight games he bagged only one more goal and had the same amount of assists.
Moreover, he created only eight chances last season compared to a much-improved 17 created so far this campaign.
The stats don’t tell the whole story of course, as we all now know what Mo Salah is capable of producing after last year’s wonder season, and it is noticeably obvious that our Egyptian King isn’t quite firing like he was previously. It’s abundantly clear that anything shy of perfection from Mo will be scrutinised and dissected by the pundits and fans on social platforms alike.
Thankfully it is still very early days and the Reds have ample time to find their attacking prowess yet again, let us not forget that it took until October 17th of last season against Maribor in the Champions League for Liverpool’s front three to truly kick on as they dismantled the Slovenians 7-0 away from home, so there is still time to get things right.
Whatever the reason may be for Salah and Liverpool’s attacking woes, Liverpool still find themselves joint top of the table only behind on goal difference, although some may lead you to believe we are in something just short of an attacking crisis.
Let’s all take a deep breath this international break and have faith that Jurgen Klopp and the front three of Liverpool can discover what can finally make them click as we all believe and know they are so capable of doing.