Liverpool fans have noticed a significant dip in form from Mohamed Salah since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations in February.
The Egypt international hasn't looked himself in recent months, struggling in front of goal, netting just six times since his return from AFCON – three being from penalties. Despite the Reds' fine form, Salah, who usually produces match-winning moments, hasn't been able to deliver during the second half of the campaign.
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield last weekend, with Jurgen Klopp's side needing victory to close in on the chase for the quadruple. But thanks to some smart counter-attacking play, Spurs became the first side to steal points at Anfield since Brighton back in October.
Before the turn of the year, Salah had already scored 23 goals, while assisting nine – but that seems to have been interrupted by his involvement in AFCON at the start of the calendar year.
Since his participation in the tournament, his goal average for Liverpool went from 0.75 to 0.55, and his shot attempts has fallen from 4.19 to 3.6. Although his touches in the penalty area have gone up from 6.55 to 7.48, the main issue seems to be his execution.
His successful dribbles and progressive runs have also seen a dip from 3.46 to 2.92, however, his xG has been higher since his return (0.73 from 0.55). Although this shows he has been presented with better goal scoring opportunities this second half of the campaign, he just hasn't been able to convert them.
HAVE YOUR SAY! What did you make of the stats, should Salah be rested against Aston Villa? Have your say in the comment section below…
Having seen the stats, one fan said: "Man needs a break, he looked exhausted since he got back. I wouldn't even have him on the bench for Villa." Another added: "Gotta think about the emotional toll of losing the AFCON Final and World Cup qualifications in such gut wrenching ways. Physical tiredness is one thing but the pain must have taken a hit on him too. Plus look at how well Mane has played since due to the success of Senegal."
A third continued: "He’s going be terrifying this time next year, when everyone else is knackered after the World Cup and he’s fully rested," before another added: "He’s played more minutes for Egypt than Firmino has for Liverpool this season. Wild stuff."
Klopp previously addressed the Egyptian's form, who has played over 60 matches for both his country and Liverpool this season. "Every player in that situation wants to score and it’s clear Mo wants to score as well," Klopp said after he missed several chances in the Champions League quarter final clash against Benfica, last month. "It’s a tough period, the boys came back from Africa, that’s really not easy. Massive pressure. They need some time to settle, everything will be fine."
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