Football Features

Mohamed Salah answers Pogba with his own piece of Premier League history in Norwich 0-3 Liverpool

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:55, 14 August 2021

In a strange evening of football, Liverpool beat Norwich 0-3 at Carrow Road.

The match was a relatively low-key affair with neither side looking anywhere near ready for the rigours of a Premier League season, but Liverpool were comfortably superior to their hosts mostly due to the brilliance of Mohamed Salah.

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Obviously there are understandable reasons for Norwich looking so rusty with how heavily impacted their pre-season was, but in truth even if they were at full tilt it’s hard to see how they would have been able to keep up with Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian forward is a world-class stud, one of the five best players in the Premier League. And it feels like a lot of people forgot about that because of just how bad Liverpool were last season. Even though Salah scored 22 goals, missing out on winning the Golden Boot by just a single goal, no one really spoke about him in glowing terms.

Well, maybe now they’ll remember how good Salah is and praise him accordingly.

With the Reds looking horribly disjointed, Salah was the one who stepped up to provide the goals. Two assists and one goal himself made the difference. Alright, the first assist was fortuitous as Salah’s miscontrol of a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross fell into Diogo Jota’s path and the Portuguese lashed home.

The second, however, was instinctive and brilliant. On an afternoon when no one could pick out a final pass to save their life, Salah produced one on the fly, first time, and it was inch-perfect. Sadio Mané’s shot deflected into the Egyptian’s path and he immediately and casually slid it back across the face of goal, giving Roberto Firmino a tap-in.

Then finally Salah capped the day off with a superb finish from near the edge of the box. Lashing home an effort so powerful and accurate that it was beyond Tim Krul as he was diving across to try and reach it.

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That goal made it five straight seasons in a Liverpool shirt where Mohamed Salah has scored on the opening day of the season – more than any player has managed in history. That is an absolutely outrageous stat but shows just how dangerous a fresh and hungry Salah is.

“He’s just a phenomenon, isn’t he?” asked Kelly Cates on Sky Sports post-match, to which the panel agreed wholeheartedly. Karen Carney chimed in; “you’ve got a world-class footballer. Two assists and a goal.”

Jamie Redknapp was impressed with his work-rate: “every game he works so hard for then team,” before pointing out the absurd consistency of the Egyptian that makes him so difficult to deal with; “even when he’s quiet he’ll score or he’ll give an assist. He’s a world-class player and Liverpool are so lucky to have him.”

Today he was the talisman Liverpool were desperate for, the touch of genuine world-class that elevated a mediocre performance into a comfortable opening day win. It was the perfect riposte to the Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba power hour earlier in the day, with Salah showing his sheer class and making sure no one is going to forget him this season.