Liverpool’s ‘Egyptian King’ Mo Salah scooped the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday night, as he seeks to break further Liverpool and Premier League records in what has been a spectacular season for the winger.
For some time, it has been a two-horse race for the accolade, but Salah’s fellow professionals voted in his favour, seeing off competition from Manchester City’s playmaker Kevin De Bruyne. The other nominees were Harry Kane, David De Gea, Leroy Sane and David Silva.
Afterwards, Salah stated that it was a particularly special honour due to it being voted for by other players, before adding, “I didn’t have my chance at Chelsea. It was clear I would return and show everyone my football”.
Other winners on the night included Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, picking up the Young Player of the Year Award, as well as Chelsea’s Fran Kirby and Bristol City’s Lauren Hemp winning the women’s awards of Player and Young Player of the Year respectively.
However, the main plaudits were for Liverpool’s star man. No one could have predicted the extent of the impact Salah would have on his team when they signed him from Roma for £34m in the summer – which looks like a bargain now.
Nevertheless, the Liverpool man has shone and deserves the award, given his tally of 31 goals this season – equalling the record for a 38-game Premier League campaign. Not bad at all for a player who has spent the season on the right wing. It is likely that the record will be Salah’s own come the end of the season too, as Liverpool still have four games remaining.
He has also drawn deserved comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as he has set alight the Champions League, scoring 10 goals for Liverpool as they aim to be crowned European champions for the sixth time. Two of those came in a magnificent individual display against Roma on Tuesday night, as he also provided two assists in a 5-2 demolition – the pressure that comes with winning Player of the Year seems to not have affected Salah.
As the World Cup approaches, a dilemma for Liverpool fans arises. As much as they want their new hero to continue his dazzling performances, they will be worried about the pull of footballing giants such as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Only time will tell where Salah will be playing his football next season, however, for now, Salah remains the best footballer in the English game.
By Rob Kirk