Mohamed Salah joins Wayne Rooney in elite Premier League club as Liverpool transfer truth clear

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was excellent against Spurs.

Just over a week after Mohamed Salah and Jürgen Klopp had something of a public spat on the touchline against West Ham United, the Liverpool forward looked sharper than he has for weeks. The pressure is off the Reds now, but they turned it on in an attacking sense to put four past Spurs at Anfield.

Salah opened the scoring with his first goal from open play in seven Premier League appearances dating back to March, and he got through a lot of running going forward and back. He tailed off a little in the second half, but this performance was a more than welcome sign even with only two more matches to play this season.

For all the talk about Salah being off it in 2023/24 — lagging behind on where he might have been in terms of goals and assists because of his rare injury — the truth was always clear. Liverpool's talisman is as important and useful as ever.

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Now on 18 goals in the Premier League and 10 assists — a remarkable tally for most players, if not the Liverpool number 11 — he has joined Wayne Rooney in an elite club. That pair are now the only duo with double figures for goals and assists in five or more separate Premier League campaigns.

Struggling? There is no doubt that he hasn't been at his best for some time now, but even then, he has a goal every other appearance in the league in 2024. This was more like the old Salah, but even the below-par one isn't too shabby.

Had the finishing from his teammates (most notably Darwin Núñez) been better this season, Salah's assist numbers would look even healthier. Perhaps they might even have been high enough to show exactly the kind of player that he is.

Salah is now the elite Premier League playmaker. He is still scoring too, but no one creates as many big chances as he does. No one has as high an expected assists tally. Sluggish showings and silly tantrums shouldn't hide that, even if both are far from ideal.

This overall performance was a welcome one and Salah looked far sharper and more energetic against a Spurs backline that left plenty of space for him. And just like when he has been below par, the reaction when he looks back to something closer to his best shouldn't be over-the-top, not least because it has come too late in the season to matter in terms of the title.

But this was a reminder of what Salah still offers though, incredible as it is that some still need it. He might be 31, but there is a reason that Liverpool expects its best attacker to still be at Anfield next season. Without him, it would still be much worse.