JOHANNESBURG – For many iconic, trophy-winning players at Liverpool Football Club the number worn on their backs seems pivotal to their success, but that is not the case for Egyptian Mohamed Salah.
Ardent football fans will know that the number seven is usually worn by the team’s star player for club or country, like in the case of Eric Cantona at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus), George Best (Manchester United), David Beckham (Manchester United) and Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish. The list goes on.
But the 27-year-old Salah has worn the number 11 jersey since joining Liverpool in 2017.
The number 11 jersey, has seldom been worn by an iconic player over the last 25 years. Jamie Redknapp had it for a couple years, but he only inherited it after taking it from the more-established (at that time) Mark Walters as he battled with injuries.
Scorer in the 2005 Champions League final, Vladimir Smicer wore the number 11, but he only took up the jersey when he couldn’t wear number seven. Even Robbie Fowler wore the 11 for six months.
It’s plain to see then, that jersey 11 isn’t synonymous with success for Liverpool or most other clubs. That was until Salah.
Salah was on the scoresheet against Bournemouth on March 7 before the English Premier League (EPL) season was suspended due to the spread of Covid-19, taking his EPL tally to 70.
The strike also moved Salah to second on the all-time list for goals scored for a single club, behind only Alan Shearer who scored 79 goals in his first 100 matches for Blackburn Rovers.
In the process, Salah has passed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Sergio Aguero and Fernando Torres on the list for most goals scored for a single club in their first 100 games.
The ‘Egyptian King’ has also snuck into third place on the top-scorers list this season with his total of 16. Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy leads the way on 19 goals.
If Salah manages to top the goalscoring charts, it will be the third season in a row he has achieved this feat. In his first season for Liverpool in 2017/2018 he notched up an incredible 32 goals, and scored 22 in 2018/2019.
Should he go on to win it for a third season in a row, Salah would become the third player in EPL history to do so after Shearer (1994-1997) and Thierry Henry (2003-2006).
Another record in sight for Salah, is the quickest to 100 goals for Liverpool across all competitions. Currently, Salah has 91 goals from 143 games, some way ahead of Fowler who brought up his century of goals from 165 matches.
African News Agency (ANA)