The contract curse. That’s what Liverpool legend Graeme Souness warned Mohamed Salah of after he signed his new deal.
The Egyptian looked delighted while sat beside the pool in the summer but things haven’t quite gone to plan at Anfield this campaign.
Last season he netted 23 goals – the same tally as Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son – and won the league’s Golden Boot as a result.
The Reds then made sure to secure their Egyptian talisman to a longer deal, awarding him with a new three-year contract worth £350,000-a-week in July.
But after committing his future, Salah saw a downturn in form at the start of this campaign, scoring just three times in all competitions.
And Souness warned the superstar may now be ‘in his armchair’ after penning a new bumper contract at Liverpool.
The former Liverpool midfielder even compared Salah to now-former Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s slip in form when he signed on again with the Gunners.
But how far off is he from last season’s tally? talkSPORT.com takes a look…
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New contract curse?
It’s important to point out that Liverpool have underperformed as a whole on the pitch this season.
The Reds currently sit in ninth in the Premier League and are also out of the Carabao Cup, missing the chance to retain that trophy.
Naturally, Salah’s form has also suffered a result.
The 30-year-old has scored 17 goals this season, seven in the Premier League, seven in the Champions League and one each in the Community Shield, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
When broken down, Salah’s goal return is nothing to be sniffed at.
But the Egyptian undoubtedly looks to be a subdued figure this season, with him being unable to finish chances against fellow underperformers Chelsea that he’d have put away with ease last campaign. So why is that?
Previously, Liverpool have played with the front three pinched narrow whilst the full-backs navigated the wide spaces.
But, over time, Klopp has withdrawn Alexander-Arnold from the channels and instead had him playing closer to the centre, meaning Salah has been forced to play on the flank, as opposed to cutting in the inside channels – as shown by the heat maps below.
As a result, Salah failed to register a shot on target for the third game in a row when he faced the Blues as he finds it harder to score when attacking from that position.
And the proof is in the pudding when you compare Salah’s stats so far this season to the same time last year.
The Liverpool winger had 23 goals this time last year in all competitions compared to his 17 now.
But while there’s only a difference of six goals, his difference in his Premier League tally explains why people think he’s suffered a huge slump in form.
Salah had scored 16 times in England’s top flight this time a year ago, compared to the seven he’s netted so far in 2022/23.
The forward has scored more than 20 Premier League goals in four of his five seasons at Liverpool, but his current tally looks like he’s set to miss out on that feat this season.
There’s still a long way to go this campaign, and Liverpool’s collective slump will be a huge factor in Salah’s drop in goals.
But since signing his new deal, he’s definitely not been playing to the standard he has the ability to.
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