There is no contest to be held, Mohamed Salah is the best footballer on the face of this or any other planet come to that, writes Steven Scragg.
Sunday, on a day where some things went well and other things not so well collectively, Salah lifted his game to show himself head and shoulders above all else.
It may well seem like ‘no shit, Sherlock’ territory here, but the dawning of realisation has come for many of us that we are truly blessed to have him and that we need to make the most of this situation while we can. One way or another, it is a joy that is on borrowed time.
There are deeds that Salah has done and things that we have seen which have now removed any lingering ambiguities. There are no hecklers of substance left to protest. The silence of rivals is deafening.
A goal of rich beauty, one in which he made fools of some outstanding opposing players, amidst a game that will be one of the two biggest of the season, Salah laid down unanswerable questions for Manchester City that are beyond the realms of problem-solving, even for a footballing mind as expansive as the one owned by Pep Guardiola.
It isn’t even that we’ve taken Salah for granted, as he is adored by the Anfield faithful, his song sung more than most, homage paid on a regular basis for his incredulous brand of football fated for the greatness on show.
The difference lays within what Salah is surrounded by during his era in a Liverpool shirt. There is no shortage of godlike support actors and talented cult heroes within this Liverpool team, a team that is guided by Jurgen Klopp, a man who arguably absorbs more natural light than his players do.
In other eras, when great
Suarez, Torres, and Philippe Coutinho to a degree, just like Gerrard, were talismanic figures surrounded by good, but not great teammates.
Salah, in comparison, shares the stage with an array of heroes, all bundled together and projected as a majestic collective in the same way Kevin Keegan was the superstar of an awe-inspiring collective under Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, or Kenny Dalglish was the genius of a magnificent collective under Paisley and Joe Fagan.
What we had back then was we all had Dalglish as our all-encompassing deity, with another ‘favourite player’ running alongside him in terms of idolising the Red Men. For some it was Ray Clemence, for others it was Ray Kennedy or Graeme Souness, while for me it was Terry McDermott.
In this respect, as foreign as it might seem to anybody born beyond the mid-1980s, we kind of took Dalglish for granted back then because he was always there, and he was always brilliant. He was King Kenny and he forever would be so. He was taken for granted, but not really taken for granted.
In 2021, in a mirror image, this makes Mo, ‘King Mo’, the all-encompassing deity that we kind of take for granted, but not really.
There is a defined difference between taking Mo for granted and not being openly appreciative enough of him. Hence, he does what he spectacularly does but the song that gets a more enthusiast airing is the one in homage to Bobby Firmino.
This isn’t because we don’t love Mo enough, it’s because Bobby is as mischievous as he is skilled and his song is the catchiest in the contemporary
Yet, more needs to be made of just how good Salah has become; more needs to be made of how for the first time ever, the best footballer in the world is African. An elevated plateau that has only been occupied by South American and European players up until now.
Mo made the cover of Time magazine a couple of years ago and his response to this platform was to promote change in human culture towards women.
Much has quite rightly been made of Klopp the humanist, and his take on life, almost as much as his take on football, and the same should be lauded of the man who pulls on the number 11 shirt for him too.
As supporters grow increasingly concerned over the clock ticking down on his contract expiration date, in 2023, it is worth bearing in mind that Mo’s shinpads are unlikely to feature an image of his own face.
On Sunday, Mo scored the ‘that goal’ to end all ‘that goals’ when it comes to games between such elevated rivals, teams that aren’t necessarily historical deadly foes but are, for a snapshot in time at least, electric rivals for honours.
Sitting Bernardo Silva down and making fools out of Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and Ederson, although it was a goal that didn’t ultimately win the game for
We all know what FSG will have to do to tie Salah to
Embrace every single second of it.