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Is Salah the Top Player in Europe Right Now?

Image author Eric The Fish, taken from Flickr

If there is one player who has lit up the last few seasons at Anfield, it’s Mohamed Salah. Since arriving in Liverpool from AS Roma, the Egyptian forward has proved to be a crucial factor of Jürgen Klopp’s squad, playing a decisive part in the club’s success both domestically and in European competition. 

But is Salah the top player in Europe right now? That accolade has been passed between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years, but with both approaching the twilight of their illustrious careers, there are several other candidates for consideration as Europe’s best. Salah definitely makes a strong case, shining even in a strong Liverpool squad. Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, and Fabinho are among the key players in the side, but week in week out it seems to be Salah who makes the difference.  Let’s see. 

Recent form

His performances this season alone suggest he could be number one – nine goals and three assists – and his run of form doesn’t look like an ending. 

In last week’s 2-2 thriller with Man City, he scored as sublime a goal as you’ll see. Picking up the ball outside the box with his back to the goal, he produced a stunning flick to get past Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden, then cut through the rest before unleashing a sublime finish past Ederson. Pundits were quick to pile on the praise, with Gary Neville calling it a “goal from another planet”. Klopp’s comments after the game suggested that it would go down in history as one of the great goals. 

Other commentators point to his standing on the world scene. “I don’t think there’s anyone playing better in the world or in Europe at the moment,” Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said after the Man City game. “His record at the start of this season has been absolutely outstanding.”

Salah’s impact 

The truly great players do more than score goals and make assists. There is no shortage of talent in the Premiership, and across the great leagues of Europe, but there are some players that rise above and propel a team to greatness. 

It’s hard to argue that another player has impacted Liverpool in the last few seasons more than Salah, with his goal-scoring prowess and galvanizing effect on the team. 

Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy in 2019, winning an all-English final against Tottenham Hotspur 2-0, with Salah contributing the first goal. The Merseyside club won its first top-flight title in 30 years, and its first-ever EPL title in 2019/20, with the Egyptian playing a crucial role across the season. He has remained a talismanic presence for Liverpool since, and has already cemented his place among the greats to play at Anfield. 

Other players touted as Europe’s best

Despite their advancing years, Messi and Ronaldo (34 and 36 respectively) will always be talked about when considering the world’s best footballers. But there are a handful more from across Europe who have been noted for their consistent level of play lately. 

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been on fire this season so far, with ten goals and seven assists already. He’s Real’s fifth all-time top goal-scorer and all-time assist provider. Benzema has stepped out from Ronaldo’s shadow and is highly regarded by many inside the game. 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé is often touted as Europe’s greatest, but statistically, he lags behind Benzema and Salah with five goals to his name. However, he has been a major part of the French club’s recent successes. 

Another player who has been on an other-worldly level for the best part of a decade is Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski – he is a prolific goal-scorer, with fourteen netted already this season. 

While ‘who is the best?’ can be endlessly debated, what’s indisputable is that the leagues in Europe are at a higher quality than ever, drawing millions of spectators and fans to stadiums and TV screens, and an equal number of punters to bookies each week. Those who like to spice up the action with a flutter can find the best betting apps for soccer online, according to Evan Henningsen, author at WSN.com, to place a range of bets on a vast array of fixtures – where BetMGM Sportsbook is among the best options to look for. 

Liverpool’s chances in 2021/22

Salah will be hoping that Liverpool can mount a serious title challenge after a lackluster title defense in 2020/21. He scored his 100th Liverpool goal against Brentford, but will rue not scoring his 101st in the same game, missing a relatively simple conversion – the newly promoted side scored a late equalizer in a thrilling 3-3 draw. But the goal against Man City remains one for the ages, and the red half of Merseyside will be looking for more moments of magic and inspiration as the season progresses. 

Despite all the statistics and awards, there will never be a unanimous consensus on Europe’s best player. However, Liverpool fare this season, you can be sure that Mo Salah will be in the thick of the action – and will be counted among the world’s best.

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