Salah’s career has not gone according to plan
Imagine having Mo Salah on your side – the most thrilling, tricky, damaging and speedy winger in the Premier League, a player who can look beyond defensive incompetence for an isolated chance.
Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham covered 141.33km for Manchester City on his opening day start, while his side have gone on to beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – the latter two games with no win bonus for Premier League teams.
David De Gea, meanwhile, covered 114.94km on his derby debut. The Football Association gave Manchester United and Manchester City goalkeepers a bonus for the win, meaning De Gea received £40,000.
What of the most valued player in football?
Salah is facing challenge from Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo
The highest paid Premier League player, and the highest earner in Europe, is Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 33-year-old is under contract until 2020, but a clause in his Real Madrid contract means if he is sold by the Spaniards he can then free his mind of the burden of his wages by accepting an offer from another club that would make him £500,000 a week.
However, any attempt by a foreign club to sign him would require a work permit, which would see his wage bill increase by almost £50m – the cost to West Ham’s transfer budget alone.
Morocco international Salah signed from Chelsea for £34m in the summer.
And there are those who say he is an inferior player to Ronaldo – or better.
Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs believes that in a team of Ronaldo, Bale and Zidane he “definitely is” better.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also says that should a player like City’s Sergio Aguero go away injured, Salah, 23, is “more” of a fit option.
The most impressive aspect of Salah’s career to date is his consistency: he made his Premier League debut just nine games in, scoring on his first start, then scored 15 in his first full season for the 2016-17 campaign.
But Salah has so far scored just three times in this season’s competition – and all three have been penalties. Salah had not scored a penalty for Liverpool since November 2016.
Fondly likened to Manchester United’s Bryan Robson as a competitor, and recently touted as the best talent since Lionel Messi, Mo Salah is arguably the most undervalued player in Premier League history.
Salah has been robbed of a chance by the consistency of Ronaldo and had been embroiled in controversy over the much-talked-about state of his home.
Were there any doubts about whether he was worth the buy-out clause after watching Mo Salah
But opponents have always struggled to stop him.
He has scored twice as many Premier League goals as Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata – including this classic against Jose Mourinho’s team.
There have been many options for opposing defenders: De Gea dallied on his first penalty, De Gea took five pens at Old Trafford, the Champions League holders Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Leroy Sane avoided the Ecuador international completely, while De Gea’s partnership with Kasper Schmeichel can often prove elusive.
Salah can take one step then turn and run on beyond a poor challenge – England striker Daniel Sturridge told him: “Hit me, “operates” as the 4/5 favourite on BetVictor’s exchange.
And might there be an Unforgettable goal of the Season contender on the horizon? He has three penalties in two games – his first two in a football career which was only five months old when he scored an equaliser at the Nou Camp against Barcelona – and has compared himself to Messi.
So why hasn’t Salah yet been acknowledged as one of the game’s greatest ever strikers?