When Mohamed Salah stepped up to score from six yards on a humid summer’s evening in Madrid, time stopped. One strike from a meagre 12 yards away from Hugo Lloris’ goal forced time to slow – and forced the breaths of Liverpool fans across the world to be held.
In reality, the task was simple for a player known for producing magical moments in red – slot the ball home in the first minute of Liverpool’s and Jürgen Klopp’s latest attempt at glory. Seconds later, in what felt more like an hour’s wait, and that very ball was rifled passed Lloris. Salah was off celebrating with the cameras. Liverpool were finally taking a step to glory again.
The goal in Madrid, as we know by now, led to number six and Klopp’s first glimpse at the glimmering red trophy ribbons of which we have now become accustomed to a year later. The Hendo shuffle was born before being seen again in Istanbul for the UEFA Super Cup, Qatar for the Club World Cup, and most importantly, Anfield for the Premier League.
Madrid will rightfully be remembered as the starting point of Liverpool’s retaking of the perch, yet, it is worth noting, it was also the day Mohamed Salah began to both emulate King Kenny and Ian Rush, as well as outlast the legacies of Luis Suárez and Fernando Torres.
Over the years at Anfield, we have seen many world-class forwards come and go. Even in the darkest of times, with the exception of 2015, a star man could be seen leading the line for Liverpool.
Suárez will go down as one of the most talented forwards of his generation. The Uruguay international scored goals some could only dream of and did things most will never replicate. He may have been Anfield’s pantomime villain in the famous comeback last season, but from 2011 to 2014 he was our controversial, villainous forward who played the role of hero to a tee.
Fernando Torres, the man before Suárez, once tore Real Madrid apart while wearing the Liverpool red. El Niño, as he became known, joins the Uruguayan as one of the best finishers to grace the fields of Anfield Road.
Though, as we look back on those that first entered our hearts as supporters, we come to the realisation that Mohamed Salah is doing what those previously honoured forwards failed to do. He has exceeded their legacies in every way possible. Suárez and Torres were good – they were very, very good – but Salah is unforgettable. The heights he has reached seemed unreachable.
Those before the Egyptian came, saw, but they did not conquer. For all the goals that broke the net in front of the Kop, the glory did not arrive. Instead, as the awards did not accompany the goals, those before Salah departed rather than conquering.
And that’s the difference. Salah has scored the goals – 94 of them in 152 appearances, to be exact – he has been through the bad moments instead of running from them, yet he has come out of the other side to conquer, to take and score that penalty in Madrid.Embed from Getty Images
Since that first honour, the renowned ‘Egyptian King’ has continued to rise to reap the rewards at Anfield. He now stands a Premier League champion, a world champion, and a European champion. The task was once to live up to the legacies set by Suárez, Torres and co. Now, Liverpool’s No.11 is emulating the likes of Sir Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush.
A ‘threepeat’ of Golden Boots may not have accompanied a Premier League medal this season but, rest assured, Salah still shone brightly amongst one of the best Liverpool sides we have had the pleasure of witnessing week in, week out in the Premier League.
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