Jordan Henderson claims Mohamed Salah is a better player now than he was in his first season at Liverpool and shouldn’t just be judged by the number of goals he scores.
Salah took the Premier League by storm when he joined Liverpool from Roma in 2017. In his first season back in England, the former Chelsea forward scored an astonishing 44 goals in 52 games.
It led to him winning the Premier League Golden Boot, as well as being named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Year.
Naturally, it has been difficult for Salah to replicate those kind of ratios since then. However, he still managed to retain his Golden Boot in his second season at Anfield.
Across all competitions, Salah scored 27 goals in his second season with Liverpool and 23 in his third. He already has six goals from nine games this season, reaching his 100th goal for the club in the Merseyside derby with Everton recently.
While some may perceive Salah’s form to have dropped since his spectacular first season, he still remains a prolific player for Liverpool.
And his captain Henderson thinks he deserves more credit for his numbers – insisting he is a better player now overall than he was after his first season.
“Mo’s numbers are jaw-dropping,” the Liverpool captain told Liverpool’s official matchday programme for their Champions League clash with FC Midtjylland. “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 emphasises 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 hopes Salah scores another century
The captain continued by claiming Salah has made as important a contribution to Liverpool’s development in recent years than any other player.
Centre-back Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker often get the credit for transforming Liverpool into Premier League champions. But Henderson thinks Salah has also been a huge part of their progress – and he hopes he can score another 100 goals for the club.
Henderson added: “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 epitomises 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.”