Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah made history with his strike against newly-promoted Brentford but is yet to commit his long-term future to the club as speculation surrounding whether he will stay continues
He kissed the ground in celebration.
And who could blame him?
After VAR confirmed Mo Salah’s 100th league goal, he took a moment near the halfway line – sinking to his knees and savouring the achievement.
In the past after scoring, the little Egyptian has whipped off his jersey, or run off in ecstasy. Sometimes, he’s just raised an arm in salute.
But after he brought up his century – just the 13th player to do so for the Reds – it was difficult to begrudge him a second to himself.
After all, Salah is a modern-day marvel. And an absolute god-send for Jurgen Klopp.
Well, first, if he plays, he scores at a rate of two every three matches.
Secondly, he’s rarely injured and so he dons that red jersey a lot.
And thirdly, he scores all sorts – although it’s fair to say his headers are collectors’ items.
Apart from that, he can thump them from distance, prod them in from close-range and orchestrate and round-off intricate moves.
But the goal which brought up that three figures was perhaps a trademark.
His movement behind defenders is so sharp that woe betide any left-back who switches off for a moment.
Salah works on the eyeline of defenders. If they are out of position so that they can’t see him, he uses it to his advantage – time and again.
It’s almost like they haven’t twigged it yet. Or perhaps he’s just so good at it that it can’t be stopped.
Blink. And he’s gone. And almost always, he makes opponents pay.
It was harsh on Rico Henry who made the mistake as a ball over the top caught him off-guard and with Brentford’s rearguard slightly out of kilter, he sidefooted into the net.
It appeared for all the world that he had infringed but the lines showed otherwise – and by the time the goal had been given, the little winger was almost back in his own half.
It’s impossible to think of where Liverpool might be without Salah.
Of course, if the 29-year-old wasn’t playing, it would open up the door for someone else.
But there are very few who could boast the impact or influence on this team that he has – and continues to do.
Is it a stretch to say that without him, the Reds might not have landed either of their two big prizes in the past few years?
Goals are the currency of success and Salah has delivered time and again.
He’s now at an age, of course, where the Reds might have seen the best of him.
From time to time, there’s been talk of Real Madrid – but what sort of player would they be buying now?
One who is near his 30th birthday. And it is a fiendishly difficult trick to pull off – to keep scoring as the body gets just that little bit slower.
At the moment at least, he’s untouchable. Six goals in seven outings so far this season tells its own story.
However, if there was one moment where he did prove he was human, it came as Brentford were struggling to stay in the game last night.
Action Images via Reuters)
Curtis Jones’s deflected effort had put the Reds in the driving seat – and the hosts’ were being stretched to breaking point.
The little magician found himself clean through with just Brentford’s keeper in front of him.
Salah gathered the ball, had time to lift it over David Raya but managed only to send it onto the roof of the netting.
A successful strike then and that would have been game over. There would have been no late comeback – no scenes of happiness in the tight, cosy, superb little stadium on the side of the A4.
But we’re nit-picking.
Salah has delivered time and again – and he might have reached a milestone in west London but his place among the greats at Anfield is already established.