This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
It’s rare to find a particular scapegoat in a pre-season friendly but one has to feel that Liverpool fans might be directing their anger towards Mohamed Salah after their Community Shield defeat to Manchester City.
The Egypt international, undoubtedly one of the stars of the Premier League, endured a torrid afternoon as Jurgen Klopp’s men were beaten on penalties at Wembley after a 1-1 draw.
Across the 90 minutes, Salah had 10 shots on goal, per WhoScored.
For context, that’s more than the entirety of City’s team, who registered eight.
He did hit the woodwork twice and brought a genuinely incredible goal-line clearance out of Kyle Walker in injury time, but he had just four shots on target.
He also saw two shots blocked and, really, the numbers are all the more remarkable when it is considered that Salah touched the ball 60 times. That means that for every six touches, he had a shot on goal.
The winger also passed the ball 24 times; less than any other Liverpool player to start the game.
But with his lack of end product, Salah ultimately cost the Reds through his profligacy.
Two of Salah’s passes came in the box.
By comparison, six of his shots were inside the 18-yard area and four more were from outside.
Could he have passed more?
Of course, it depends on the in-game situation and the team-mates he has available to him but one has to feel that, if he had got his head up and tried to find a fellow Red, he might have been able to.
As it was, because of his desire to constantly shoot, it was Virgil van Dijk who ended up providing the vital assist to Joel Matip in the area, lofting a lovely cross into his central defensive partner, who nodded home.
Watch Liverpool Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Would Salah have passed? On this evidence, it does not appear that he would have, perhaps instead he would have tried to wriggle free and taken another shot on.
The Community Shield is just a pre-season friendly at the end of the day but this will sting for the forward, who is so used to winning matches on his own.
On Sunday, he lost it.