By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Mohamed Salah leads Lionel Messi in European Golden Shoe race
Last Updated: 23/03/18 6:01pm
Mohamed Salah's four-goal haul for Liverpool on Saturday saw him take the lead in the race for the European Golden Shoe.
Salah helped Jurgen Klopp's side thrash Watford 5-0 at Anfield on Saturday and took his goal tally for the season to an incredible 28 in just 30 matches.
Salah closing in on PL Golden Boot
Mohamed Salah pulled clear in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with his four goals against Watford
That puts the Egyptian on 56 points, six clear of second-placed Lionel Messi, who grabbed Barcelona's second in their 2-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Messi, who won last season's European Golden Boot having scored 37 times to finish with a total of 74 points, has now netted 25 goals in only 28 La Liga games to put Barca within touching distance of the title in Spain.
Meanwhile, there are three strikers on 48 points completing the top three - Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, Lazio's Ciro Immobile and Tottenham's Harry Kane - with each man having found the back of the net on 24 occasions so far in the league this campaign.
However, with neither Cavani nor Immobile registering for their clubs on the weekend, and Kane sidelined until April with an ankle injury, it now looks like being a two-man race for the award.
All of which should make for a fascinating close to the campaign, although Messi still has nine La Liga encounters left to play this season, while Salah only has a maximum of seven more Premier League fixtures to try and win the award.
If Barca's Argentina international does manage to finish ahead of Salah, it would make him the first player to get his hands on the European Golden Shoe five times (2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2016/17).
Were Salah to maintain his position at the top of the charts, though, the 25-year-old would become the first Premier League player to be crowned Europe's top marksman since another Liverpool forward, Luis Suarez, shared the award with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago.
Ronaldo was the last player from the English top flight to win the European Golden Shoe outright, after scoring 31 goals to help Manchester United claim the 2007/08 Premier League title.
Race for the European Golden Shoe
* Since the 1996/97 season, the Golden Shoe has been awarded based on a points system, with goals scored in Europe's top five leagues - according to the UEFA coefficients - multiplied by a factor of two