Monday, April 22, 2019

Fewer goals and creating less – Salah´s form dip in Opta numbers

SoccerNews in English Premier League 4 Apr 2019

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Mohamed Salah may be enjoying another fine campaign for Liverpool, but the star forward has dropped off in a crucial period.

Salah hit back at his critics after Liverpool edged Tottenham 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Egypt international played a major role in Spurs’ calamitous late own goal, but he has just one strike in his past 11 games in all competitions.

Using Opta data, we compare Salah’s first 16 Premier League games of this season with his most recent 16, assessing just how the 26-year-old is performing.

Flow of goals slows

Salah scored 10 goals in the first 16 games of the league season, managing a strike every 130.9 minutes for Liverpool.

However, despite playing 116 more minutes through the second half of the campaign so far, he has scored three fewer goals.

Salah has scored seven times in those 16 games, averaging a goal every 203.6 minutes.

But that is not for a lack of trying, with Salah almost taking as many shots – 52 in his most recent 16 compared to 57. He also has slightly fewer shots on target (25 to 27) in the more recent period.

Chances squandered

Perhaps the most significant drop off for Salah has come with his shot conversion rate.

Still chasing his 50th Premier League goal, his conversion is down from 17.5 per cent to 13.5 in the past 16 games.

Whether it is the desperation to end his barren run or fatigue impacting decision making late in the season, Salah has dipped below the standards he set earlier in the campaign.

Salah’s impact lessened

Fortunately for Liverpool, fellow attacker Sadio Mane has been in red-hot form during Salah’s poorer run, leading to reported transfer interest from LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

But Salah’s impact – goals aside – has also lessened, particularly when it comes to his creativity.

Despite playing 116 more minutes, Salah has created 10 fewer chances (23 to 33) in the past 16 league games than in the 16 before it. He also has one fewer assist in that period.

While they have felt his dip, Liverpool are well and truly in the fight for the Premier League title.

If Salah can recapture his best, they may be hard to stop in their bid for a first league title since 1990.

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