Arsene Wenger claims Mo Salah “looked like he had played in the World Cup”

After Mo Salah scored his first Premier League goal since Boxing Day in Monday’s Merseyside derby win over Everton, Arsene Wenger had some interesting things to say about the Egyptian’s recent form.

Liverpool’s talisman has been one of a number of players to have hugely struggled for any kind of form or consistency since the season resumed after the World Cup.

But Salah will now be hoping to build on his goal against Sean Dyche’s side, after producing a performance much closer to the levels he has reached in previous seasons.

With Egypt failing to qualify for the World Cup, Salah did not feature in Qatar, but Wenger believes Salah was lacking acceleration in his recent performances.

And the former Arsenal boss says the Reds’ win over Everton could be more “important” for Salah than anyone.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 13, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 242nd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“They extended his contract. There was uncertainty for a long time about his contract,” Wenger said on beIN Sports when asked about Salah’s recent form.

“I think Liverpool made a big effort to extended his contract, and that put him under a lot of pressure.

“Tonight is the first time we’ve seen again the Salah that wins challenges, changes pace, is present in the build-up of the game.

“After the World Cup, he looked like he had played in the World Cup because he couldn’t find his acceleration.

“Tonight was the first time I’ve seen him again as we know him – a world-class player, deadly in finishing.

“He still missed two or three chances, but he scored the opener. That will give him confidence. We’ll see now how he continues.

“Overall, it was an important night for Salah.”

It’s worth remembering that, even though Salah wasn’t involved in Qatar, he did reach the final with Egypt at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, and played an integral role in a season where Liverpool played every game they possibly could have.

And despite a struggle to find his best form, Salah has still scored 18 goals in 32 appearances and is by far and away Liverpool’s top goalscorer this season.

Having combined with Darwin Nunez for his goal against the Toffees, Salah singled out the Uruguayan as a player “who will score a lot of goals” for the Reds in the years to come.