Does Salah have a right to be greedy?
After seemingly annoying Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane on Saturday, is Mohamed Salah allowed to be selfish on the pitch?
For the past two Premier League seasons, Liverpool’s attacking trio of Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino have been one of the most feared across Europe and they helped fire the Reds to a sixth European Cup crown in the last campaign.
During the 2017/18 season, the trio’s first together, they scored a combined 89 goals across the Premier League and Europe’s elite competition although silverware somehow eluded the Merseyside outfit.
In the following campaign, the fearsome three bagged 69 goals as a unit across those same two competitions but this time Liverpool managed to win the Champions League, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the final.
Despite all three players playing integral roles in Jurgen Klopp’s side, Egypt international Salah seems to hog the headlines more than his teammates, and it is hard to look past his sensational, record-breaking time at Anfield.
Since joining from Roma in June 2017, the 27-year-old has set new Liverpool records for most goals in a debut season (44 goals in 2017–18), the fastest player to score 50 goals for the club (65 games in 2018–19) and the fastest Liverpool player to score 50 Premier League Goals (69 games in 2018-19).
Taking all of this into account, it does seem Salah deserves the right to be selfish and shoot more than he passes.
This whole debate has cropped up due to Mane’s outburst in Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor. The Senegal international was visibly annoyed at his team-mate for not passing to him during the second half when in a good position and the situation turned sour when the former Southampton ace was substituted moments later.
When walking off the pitch, the 27-year-old was seen gesticulating at the bench and Klopp, who had himself earlier in the game berated Salah for not passing to Brazilian Firmino, was understandably a little shocked.
Does Sadio Mané have every right to be angry? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/wtbJLvi3yd
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) September 1, 2019
It all seemed a bit of an overreaction from Mane, who had bagged the second goal in the comfortable victory, and the manager insists he will not be telling Salah to divert from his normal game-plan.
Klopp said: “I could describe five or six situations where everyone thought: ‘Pass it, pass it, pass it,’ and then he scored. So, that is the freedom of the player. The boys have to make these decisions: pass the ball, don’t pass the ball.”
Records speak for themselves when it comes to football and there are certain players that deserve to be selfish. Look at Lionel Messi for example. The Argentine is a legend in the game and none of his Barcelona teammates would ever dream of berating him for not passing.
It is a similar story for Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo. His standing in the game makes him one of the all-time greats and the Portuguese has earned the right to shoot more often than pass.
Of course, Salah is not at the level of these two players, nor will he likely ever quite get there, but in regards to what he has done at Liverpool, he is allowed to be greedy when he gets into the final third.
One footnote to the whole debate actually reveals a different story anyway. Interestingly, only Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold made more passes in the final third at Turf Moor on Saturday than Salah, which suggests the Egyptian remains a team player anyway.