Salah Better Now Than He was in First Season at Liverpool: Henderson

Published October 27th, 2020 - 01:44 GMT
The Reds captain has talked up his team-mate's impact at Anfield ahead of facing FC Midtjylland in the Champions League (Photo: AFP)
The Reds captain has talked up his team-mate's impact at Anfield ahead of facing FC Midtjylland in the Champions League (Photo: AFP)

Mohamed Salah is better now than he was in his first season at Liverpool, according to Jordan Henderson, who has described the Egyptian's goal record as "computer game stuff".

Salah endeared himself to Liverpool fans instantly following a €42 million (£38m/$50m) move from Roma in the summer of 2017, scoring 44 goals in 52 appearances in his maiden campaign at Anfield.

He became the highest scoring striker in a single Premier League season in the process, while helping the Reds reach their first Champions League final in 13 years.

Salah has since increased his tally for Jurgen Klopp's side to 100 goals in 161 games, bringing up his century in a thrilling 2-2 draw in a Merseyside derby clash against Everton earlier this month.

The 28-year-old's output in the final third has decreased gradually over the past two seasons, but he remains one of the most deadly forwards in European football, and already has six goals to his name in 2020-21.

Henderson is in awe of how consistent Salah has been in front of goal, and thinks he is a more complete player now than he was during his extraordinary first year on Merseyside.

“Mo’s numbers are jaw-dropping,” the Liverpool captain wrote in the club's official matchday program ahead of a home date with FC Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday. “He’s achieved his century in just 159 appearances – that is computer game stuff!

“I read that Mo got to this milestone in the third-quickest time in LFC history. The other two Liverpool players who got to a century quicker are Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson – and we are going back quite a long time. It just emphasizes the enormity of his contribution.

“I shouldn’t be surprised, but it yet again underlines just how blessed we all are to be working with him, or be a supporter of this club at the time he is here with us.

“Not for one minute do I think Mo is taken for granted; he 100 per cent isn’t by anyone associated with our club at least. But I do think the level of his achievement maybe deserves a little more recognition in the game.

“It’s possible that the numbers he hit in his first season with us – 40-plus goals – means everything else since has been measured by an unfair and unrealistic yardstick.

“As someone privileged to play alongside him, I can tell you I think he is so much better now than during that first season. I also think his contribution now is more important than in that first season. As amazing as he was, he has only got better and better."

Henderson added on the work Salah puts in across the pitch which often gets overlooked: “If you look at how we have evolved as a team since 2017-18, the contribution by Mo to that has been as big as anyone’s. He works so hard for the team, sacrifices for the team. All of us on the pitch benefit from that.

“It does feel – rightly or wrongly – that Mo is only really praised when he scores goals, and that for me is missing so much of the all-round contribution he makes.

“We are so fortunate to have this quality in all our front players. Sadio, Bobby, Taki, Diogo, Divock, Shaq and so on… To play in our forward line you have to be about far more than just goals and assists. Mo epitomizes the best of that and yet still gets the numbers he does.

“Personally speaking, I hope the goal at Goodison Park was Mo reaching his first hundred for Liverpool and there are so many more to come. I’m sure that will be the case. But in the meantime, I can’t begin to tell you how much we all appreciate him.”

By James Westwood


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