Mohamed Salah has only been at Liverpool for five months, but he’s certainly the most influential player the club has had this year, as his brace helped the club beat Leicester 2-1 to finish 2017 on a 12-match unbeaten run, while advancing to the Champions League round of 16 for the first time in 9 years and firmly in the chase for one of the top 4 spots in the Premier League.
Liverpool have had problems with Leicester in recent years, but they did beat the Foxes 3-2 in the first match this season, and headed into this encounter with plenty of momentum and confidence.
But Joel Matip made a terrible mistake, and Jamie Vardy lives to take advantage of terrible mistakes to put Leicester up 1-0. And when things don’t go as planned for Liverpool, which tends to happen in “easy” home games, this season they have Salah to make things easier.
Sadio Mane, who has been frustrating to say the least since coming back from his suspension, found Salah with a fantastic pass early in the second half, but it was the Egyptians’ trickery with the ball that really did most of the work to give Liverpool the equalizer.
The second goal, about 20 minutes later, was all Salah. He got the ball with his back to Harry Maguire, and simply spun on the big, clumsy defender, who didn’t even bother chasing Salah, who does miss a lot of chances, but creates so much by himself it usually doesn’t really matter.
So, what looked like a risky £39 million signing in the summer has turned out into almost a steal. In 21 league matches with the club, he has 17 goals and 5 assists. It’s not going to win Liverpool a championship, but if it keeps them in the top 4, and sets him up for a memorable World Cup with Egypt, it’d be more than anyone expected from someone who failed to leave an impression during his first, short tour in the most demanding football league Europe has to offer.