The truth about Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool form is evident, but his teammates must assist him.
Mohamed Salah is in top form for the most important passes of all time.
In football, there are numerous ways to create opportunities, but some are definitely more successful than others. Supporters will scream when their team earns a corner, but only about three percent of them result in a goal.
One in every 100 crosses results in a goal, although the conversion rate improves to roughly 11% for chances produced by such a delivery. Through ball passes, on the other hand, are far more effective, as Liverpool knows better than most.
On average, 25% of chances created by through balls end up in the back of the net. It stands to reason that they are more effective because they are defined as “a pass dividing the defense for a teammate to rush on to,” and a player who receives one is almost likely clean through on goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s team has been above average in converting through ball chances when they have been at their most lethal and effective. They scored with roughly 37% of them in the Premier League both this season and last, winning the title and falling a point short.
While they are somewhat behind average this season in terms of converting through ball opportunities into assists, they are producing them more regularly than at any time since Philippe Coutinho was in charge for Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14. Mohamed Salah is their star player this season.
The Egyptian has produced three chances from through balls in the league, the same number as Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino. Yet, Salah’s boot has been responsible for four of Liverpool’s seven Champions League goals this season.
Darwin Nunez, the latest happy recipient of one of his defence-splitting passes in Europe, then scored with an impudent back-heeled flip against Real Madrid. It was just one of a recent flurry of through ball opportunities involving Liverpool’s number 11.
In the Reds’ FA Cup match against Brighton in January, Salah helped Harvey Elliott for another goal, this time the opener. Earlier in the contest, the combo had also worked in the opposite direction.
After only completing one through ball in their previous two games (though it did set up a decent opportunity for Nunez against Molineux), both Liverpool goals at Saint James’ Park were built up with this sort of play. Salah helped Cody Gakpo with one there, and he also produced perhaps the Reds’ greatest opening in their 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend for the Dutchman. As a result, the 30-year-old created Opta-defined clear-cut opportunities with through balls in three consecutive games, and four times in a six-game span.
Complaints have been voiced that Salah has not been in goal-scoring positions frequently enough this season, however his goal against Wolves may have alleviated some of those concerns. Yet, if he can continue to create golden opportunities, the problem will be mitigated.
After all, Salah is the Reds’ top scorer and assist provider in all competitions this season, and only Nunez has received more through ball clear-cut chances. Moreover, there have only been five occasions where Salah was on the field but did not play the critical pass or shoot the shot.
At Anfield on Sunday, Liverpool must be careful of through balls going the opposite way. Manchester United have already collected 10 assists in the league this season, a total that only 10 teams have surpassed in the previous 13 Premier League seasons. If the Reds find a chance to weave a pass through the visitors’ back line, Salah may be the man on the ball.