Comment and Analysis @p_smith86
Mohamed Salah back on target for Liverpool in comfortable win over Southampton
Forward Salah has three Premier League goals
Last Updated: 23/09/18 7:06am
Mohamed Salah ended his mini goal drought against Southampton and, despite suggestions he is short of form, the stats underline his continued threat for Liverpool...
Jurgen Klopp had laughed off questions about Mohamed Salah's goal 'drought' before Liverpool's clash with Southampton and the Egyptian's relaxed celebration when he tucked in his first in three games from close range underlined the point: there's no worry at Liverpool about Salah's early-season form.
Expectation levels are currently through the roof for the Reds forward, after he bagged 32 Premier League goals in 2017/18.
So much so, the prospect of him going four appearances across all competitions without a goal - which would have been his worst streak since returning to England - was a talking point going into this weekend.
But all the signs are Salah is set for another impressive campaign at Liverpool.
The statistics around shots and chances all point to a player regularly finding himself in prime positions to score - and, with the opportunities he's served up by the free-flowing, attacking football of his team-mates the goals seem sure to keep on coming.
The first half of the comfortable win over Southampton was a case in point.
Playing up front in a tactical switch which saw Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and regular frontman Roberto Firmino in supporting roles, Salah had three good opportunities to score before poking in the rebound when Shaqiri's free-kick came back off the bar.
Twice the ball just got away from him on the break, while on a third dart into the box he had to resort to a cheeky back-heel attempt when the ball got caught under his feet.
As Liverpool - now two goals up - pressed home their advantage the openings kept coming and he made his mark on the stroke of half-time, showing speed and sharpness to pounce on the loose ball.
In total this term, no player has had more clear-cut chances, according to Opta. The fact Salah has only taken two of his seven gilt-edged openings shows there's scope for more to come. By way of comparison he also had the most big chances last season (43), scoring 20 of them, so the conversion rate should not be a concern.
Salah also leads the Premier League for touches in the opposition box and ranks in the top three for total shots, demonstrating his consistent presence in dangerous areas.
Salah, who also had a goal ruled out for offside and a one-on-one chance halted by another flag in the second half against Southampton, is also playing an important role for his team-mates.
The forward has created 16 chances for his colleagues - again, no Premier League player has made more - while his top-three total of completed dribbles (14) shows he is breaking through defences.
Not bad for a player whose critics say he is suffering a slow start.
In the intensely scrutinised world of the Premier League - and Liverpool Football Club in particular - any blip or drop-off is magnified.
But suggestions Salah may be slipping from the elite level he reached last season are currently way off the mark.
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