News Live Scores
African All Stars

Salah needs Premier League title to surpass Yaya Toure

10:30 PM MYT 09/12/2019
Salah - Toure Collage
The Egyptian surpassed the Ivorian’s tally in the English top flight, but needs a league win to truly equal the Manchester City great

Mohamed Salah probably didn't imagine he would have scored as many as 61 goals in two-and-a-half seasons when he signed for Liverpool from AS Roma in the summer of 2017.

After his unsuccessful spell at Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s logic in taking the plunge for the Egypt international might have been questioned in some parts, but the wideman has been highly impressive for the Reds to silence the doubters from two years ago.

His goal in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth took his total league tally to 63 (added to the two he scored for Chelsea), in 100 games, a truly staggering return.

Andrew Cole and Fernando Torres also hit the same number of goals in a century of games, but Salah’s tally is even more impressive due to the fact that, unlike the pair, he’s not an out and out striker.

His goal against the Cherries wasn’t surprising, though, owing to the antecedent. The Egyptian had scored six times against Eddie Howe’s side before Saturday’s game at the Vitality.

He’d scored in four successive fixtures prior to the game against gameweek 16’s opponents too, with one of those encounters being last year’s corresponding fixture where he netted a hat-trick in a 4-0 success.

Saturday’s strike saw him overtake the tally of another African great, Yaya Toure, the former Manchester City midfielder who bossed things in the middle of the park for years in the most entertaining league in the world.

The irrepressible dynamo, in his prime, was arguably one of the very best midfielders to ever grace the English game.

When in his stride, Toure simply couldn’t be stopped; his solo run against Aston Villa in 2014 aptly demonstrated just how unstoppable he could be.

The quick and towering monster of a player absolutely had it all: he could drive through midfield with pace and skill, unlock defences with his underrated passing or bully his way through if the first pair couldn’t unlock a door easily.

Critics and reporters often place ‘pace and power’ tags on players with the kind of skillset of Toure, and maybe it was the simplest description of the former Barcelona man...but he certainly offered much more than that

In his best years, he was instrumental to an FA Cup success and two Premier League wins. The former, in 2011, was the Manchester heavyweights' first title in over three decades, and his impact in the semi-final and final was notable.

He scored the winning goal in 1-0 wins over Manchester United and Stoke City in encounters at Wembley which the Cityzens will never forget.

A year later, he won a first of two top flight titles with the club as they ended a 44-year-wait for the league success. It was even sweeter because they beat their city rivals United to the trophy in what was an enthralling title race, encapsulated by a wildly exciting final day.  

However, it was in 2013-14 Toure really hit the heights by virtue of goals and assists. The ace’s haul of 20 league goals and eight assists in the top flight made him only the second player after Chelsea’s Frank Lampard to hit a score of goals in the league.

The campaign also ended with City winning their second title in three seasons, pipping Liverpool in another drama-filled title race.

As regards individual honours, in his prime he was named in the PFA Team of the Year on the two occasions City won the title and won the BBC African Footballer of the Year (2013 and 2015). 

Furthermore, his performances in England saw him claim the African Footballer of the Year award four times on the spin between 2011 and 2014, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang narrowly beat him to the award in 2015.

His impact waned in the coming years as City lost their way a bit before tweaking philosophies with the arrival of Pep Guardiola. However, his midfield authority in the period where he reigned supreme was second to none.  

The aforementioned is what Mo Salah is competing with.

For his part, the North African attacker has also pulled up trees since returning to England in 2017. He’s won two successive Golden Boot awards in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (shared with Sadio Mane and Aubameyang), scoring 32 and 22 times, respectively.

His 32 strikes saw him beat the 31-goal haul of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez set in 2007/08 and 2013/14, respectively, while he deservedly won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.

Salah’s first season at Liverpool will probably go down as, arguably, the finest individual season in Premier League history to date, such was the high level he maintained throughout that campaign.

The Egyptian, like Toure has won the award for Africa’s best player, albeit with two fewer than the Ivorian. He’s won the last two awards in 2017 and 2018, and is a strong contender to claim a third successive success having been named among the final 10 contenders yet again.

However, without a league title, he may not be on par with Toure’s Premier League achievements.

While Salah has enjoyed European success with Klopp’s side, their 29-year domestic hoodoo persists.

As it is, they are front-runners to claim this year’s championship having opened up a 14-point lead over Guardiola’s struggling Man City side after 16 games, while Leicester City are eight points behind in second-place.

Liverpool appear to be on the right path, and success where they have failed for nearly three decades, will truly cement Salah’s place in Premier League folklore.