Double Liverpool snub proves Pep Guardiola completely wrong as Mohamed Salah robbed once again
In 2017/18, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored 44 goals and provided 16 assists. It was one of the greatest individual seasons of all time.
Midway through the current campaign, he looked like he might just be able to challenge those numbers. Salah’s goal in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea on 2 January took him to 23 for the season, in addition to his 10 assists. He’d only played 26 matches.
Salah’s form has since tailed off, with ‘just’ eight goals in the calendar year. His numbers have dropped from the level of ‘historic’ to merely ‘elite’.
That exceptional calendar year in 2021 was rewarded with a measly seventh-place Ballon d’Or finish, 421 votes behind Lionel Messi. And while Pep Guardiola won't want to hear it, there has very clearly been another robbery — in fact, there have been two.
When votes were cast for the Premier League Player of the Season award, Salah remained the division’s top scorer and creator, despite the 'decline'. And yet, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne beat him to the honour.
Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold, second only to Salah in the assist charts at the time, missed out on the Young Player of the Season prize to De Bruyne’s team-mate, Phil Foden.
The winner was decided by the public, the 20 club captains and a ‘panel of football experts’. This, then, is more representative of the opinion of the national footballing community as a whole than the PFA or Football Writers’ awards.
To put it another way, everyone voted. But it was only a fortnight ago that Guardiola claimed “everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone”.
Many Reds scoffed at these remarks. They knew from experience that their club’s historical dominance meant they were widely loathed, and their downfall keenly awaited. But these voting results serve as tangible evidence that Guardiola’s declaration was unfounded.
De Bruyne might just be the best player in the Premier League, and he’s thrived on the big occasion this season, scoring twice against Manchester United and Liverpool (albeit with the aid of two deflections) and netting a winner against Chelsea.