This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Martin Keown believes Mo Salah is destined to pick up another individual award this campaign having made improvements to his game.
Liverpool have big aspirations this season to better their second-place finish last season and Salah’s goals could be crucial to achieving their first title win since 1990.
Last year Salah finished as joint-highest goalscorer with 22, level with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and teammate Sadio Mane.
Writing for The Daily Mail, Keown suggested Salah has a very good chance of winning it outright this time around, ahead of the Senegal international.
He said: “If Liverpool are going to be champions, it has to be Mohamed Salah. He will pip Sadio Mane this season.
“Salah went through a spell where he struggled to score last season, but I see more in his play this year than I have before.”
The Egyptian has scored the most Premier League goals of any player since he arrived in 2017, and given Liverpool’s current winning habit, and his goalscoring form, it is likely that he will maintain that record.
Keown appears careful to point out that Salah will finish as top scorer if Liverpool win the league, as over the last few years it has been rare for the top goalscorer to win the league – it last occurred in 2013.
What is more interesting is the former Arsenal player’s assessment that Salah has improved.
Whilst he has maintained his high level of finishing, the key difference so far is how sharp he is. His goal against Norwich highlighted his instinct and how that helps him to not only take up the right positions, but to react to a loose ball and drive into the box.
That will be vital to him and Liverpool breaking down defensive teams, and his runs in the penalty area are likely to cause all manner of problems. His penalty win against Arsenal was an example of that, and if the 27-year-old continues to put those away it will be difficult for Mane to keep up, as Keown suggests.
Ultimately, his goals could be inconsequential to a league victory. In 2017/18 he scored an incredible 32 league goals but his team finished fourth, and although the Reds have improved since, as their points total last season indicates, they are still reliant on Manchester City faltering.