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Why Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is struggling to score goals this season

Mohamed Salah has had a quiet start to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.


By basically every available metric, Salah has dropped off massively in the 2022/23 season.

After six games of the campaign, he is averaging 0.3 goals per 90, 0.45 assists, 2.42 shots, 0.4 xG and 4.23 dribbles.

In 2021/22, meanwhile, the Egyptian boasted 0.7 goals per 90, 0.36 assists, 3.93 shots, 0.7 xG and 6.66 dribbles.

Nothing quite sums up Salah’s drop-off more than the fact it took him until the 94th minute to have a shot on target vs Everton. It was a good effort and forced a save from Jordan Pickford, but it is nevertheless no doubt a concern for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool fans that it took their MVP so long to test an opposition goalkeeper.

So, what is going wrong for Salah? Well, the answer seems fairly obvious. Salah is, most likely due to the arrival of Darwin Nunez, being asked to play in a wider role this season.

This is a theory Jurgen Klopp rejected when speaking after the goalless draw with Everton:

“It’s not more than other seasons,” Klopp said. “I’m not sure. We want to have Mo in this position but we have always had him more often in the centre position as well.

“Today especially we wanted to use him a bit more centrally but didn’t have a lot of time to train obviously. We only recovered. We spoke a lot about it, I’m not sure I was clear enough in the first half, we didn’t do exactly what we wanted.

“When Mo dropped or Lucho (Luis Diaz) dropped after two or three passes they were completely free in between the lines because Darwin kept the last line back which was clear presence.

“They like to drop pretty early. But we didn’t do that a lot. I don’t think this season he is too often wide, today in a few moments yes, but in general he could have scored again in the last minute.”

However, whilst Klopp denies Salah is playing wider this term, it is clear from his heatmaps that he is in fact spending more time on the right-wing.

Salah’s heat map from the 2021/22 Premier League campaign clearly shows his tendency to move into a more central role on a regular basis, whereas 2022/23 shows he has spent very little time in an opposition box unless it was on the right-hand side:

This is further shown in Liverpool’s final two league games of last campaign. Vs Wolves on the final day, his main position was on the edge and just inside of the Wolves box:

Vs Aston Villa in gameweek 37, meanwhile, he found himself more on the right, but still in the opponent’s box:

However, vs Everton on Saturday, Salah spent little to no time in the Toffees’ penalty area, instead largely operating on the right midway in their half:

It was a similar story vs Newcastle on Wednesday. Salah spent a bit more time in the box, but his main position was still out wide:

Whether this is by design or not, only Jurgen Klopp and Mohamed Salah know. But it is clear that Liverpool need to change something if they want their star man to get back to his best.

Alternatively, if Salah persists in a wider role, Darwin Nunez must step up to make up for that lack of goal threat from Salah.

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.



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