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Only seventh in the recent Ballon d’Or but Mo Salah very much sits at the summit of English football.
Without equals in the Premier League during the current calendar year, the Liverpool forward clearly should have been significantly higher up on that other list, too.
Salah’s form from January through to the end of the COVID campaign almost got lost amid his club’s injury-savaged botched title defence.
Yet, when you consider how poorly Jurgen Klopp’s Merseysiders were at times last term, Salah’s personal stats become all the more impressive.
And he has maintained that into the new campaign – and elevated some.
Salah's double in the 4-1 derby victory over Everton at the start of December took his club haul this year to an astonishing 34 goals.
The first at Goodison Park was a strike full of trademark beauty, coupled with usual ruthless execution. Here's the thing. He is not just a prolific scorer but a breathtaking entertainer also.
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford had been good on the night yet but was made to look like an inexperienced novice as he hesitated and was left clutching thin air by mesmerising Mo.
Fittingly that was the 500th goal of Jurgen Klopp’s all-conquering Reds reign, which Salah has done so much to ignite.
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The 29-year-old Egyptian King simply stands alone in this country right now in both departments – and that’s why he finishes ahead of Phil Foden.
Perhaps, if the Manchester City playmaker had won the Champions League final against Chelsea – and not been robbed of a part in the Euro final by injury – he would have overtaken the Anfield man.
Lest we forget, Foden, 21, has also missed plenty of the new campaign. Had that not been the case, the England sensation would not only have been banging on the door, he may have actually kicked it down with those brilliant feet of his.
The other three places on my list could have been in any order. They are all Chelsea players – and each critical to Thomas Tuchel’s Blues' resurgent second half of last season – and their eventual shock Champions League success.
This time last year Jorginho was unable to even make the Stamford Bridge first team. Yet, by the end of July, the Italian midfield lynchpin had added the European Championship to his silverware collection.
Enough for him to be third – with irrepressible England winger Mason Mount and German defensive pillar Antonio Rudiger sitting fourth and fifth, respectively, by virtue of their differing fortunes at the Euros.
Meanwhile, unstoppable scoring machine Salah continues to rip it up for the Reds.
He has played a part in 21 Premier League goals this term – a new 12-game record, beating Thierry Henry’s 20 with Arsenal in 2004-05. That takes some doing.
How much damage his absence in the New Year – as he leads Egypt’s bid at Africa Cup of Nations – inflicts on Liverpool's charge is a massive question to be answered.
Yes, they have others who can do a job but none near the lethal, sublime levels being produced every week by former Chelsea and Roma ace.
Mind you, nobody can match smiling Mo at this moment in time. Not even Lionel Messi!
- Champions League
- Premier League
- Mohamed Salah
- Liverpool FC
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