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Mohamed Salah gets Champions League final second chance when Liverpool face Tottenham
Salah suffered a dislocated shoulder during last year's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid
Last Updated: 01/06/19 9:30pm
There were 25 minutes on the clock in last year's Champions League final when Mohamed Salah was sent crashing to the turf by Sergio Ramos, screaming in agony as he landed awkwardly on his right shoulder.
Liverpool had started the game strongly at Kiev's Olympic Stadium, with Salah leading the charge, but a few minutes after that fateful moment, and despite his best efforts to continue, the Egyptian was trudging towards the tunnel in tears. It was a blow from which the Reds would not recover.
The 3-1 loss left Liverpool - and Salah - to wonder what might have been. But one year on, Jurgen Klopp's side have the opportunity to put it all behind them for good. This time, Tottenham are the opponents, Madrid is the venue, and Salah is hoping to avoid any cruel twists of fate.
Few expected him to get this far, of course. It seemed injury had curtailed Salah's Champions League involvement for another year when he was ruled out of their semi-final second leg against Barcelona due to a concussion. But that extraordinary 4-0 win at Anfield has given him a second chance. Last year's heartache will only enhance his determination to take it.
Another stunning season
Salah has not hit the scoring heights of last season this year. His overall total has fallen from 44 to 26 in all competitions. There was an eight-game scoreless streak from February to April. As a result, the 2017/18 PFA Player of the Year was not even on the shortlist for the award this time around.
It is certainly fair to say Salah was not his usual self at times - his shoulder injury was still hampering him at the start of the season, and there was a positional tweak to get used to, too - but it is also true that Salah has been a victim of his own high standards. This year, after all, his total of 22 goals still put him joint-top of the Premier League scoring charts.
His shot volume has dropped off slightly, from 4.4 per 90 minutes to 3.8 per 90 minutes this season, but his numbers for dribbles, passes and chances created are almost identical.
In fact, he averaged more touches in the opposition box per 90 minutes than he did last season. Salah was perhaps not quite as clinical in front of goal, but a little variation in shot conversion is not unusual. He still ranks top for Liverpool in nearly every attacking metric this season.
Much like last year, Salah also goes into Saturday's Champions League final in deadly form. Since that scoreless run between February and April, there have been six goals in nine appearances, including a goal of the season contender in the 2-0 win over Chelsea.
Tottenham will certainly be wary of him. The last meeting between the two sides, at Anfield at the end of March, ended with Salah's header bouncing into the net off Toby Alderweireld to seal a 2-1 win. "Mo Salah, you little dancer," exclaimed Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports. It feels like a long time ago now, but Spurs can ill-afford to leave him unmarked again.
Salah tormented Spurs in the 2017/18 season, too, of course, scoring twice in a pulsating 2-2 draw at Anfield - his second goal a stunning individual effort which underlined just how dangerous he can be when cutting in from the right flank.
With Roberto Firmino fit again following a thigh injury, Salah will be expected to line up on that right flank once again at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Saturday. It will pit him up against Danny Rose, who has started each of their last four Champions League knockout games, but Spurs know it will take more than one man to contain him.
Follow the Champions League final on Sky Sports
You can follow all of the action of Tottenham vs Liverpool from the Wanda Metropolitano on the Sky Sports App and skysports.com with our dedicated Champions League final live blog, which will feature the best build-up, commentary and reaction from Madrid.
The Champions League final will take place on Saturday, June 1; Kick-off is at 8pm.
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