Mohamed Salah leads the way alongside Harry Kane at the summit of the Premier League goalscoring chart with half of the season now completed.
The Egypt international has raced to 15 strikes in England’s top division this term since Liverpool swooped to secure his signature from AS Roma in the summer.
His most recent goal came in Friday night’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium – which had put Salah three clear of Tottenham Hotspur’s Kane.
But the Englishman struck a hat-trick this evening to draw level with the Reds forward in the race for the league’s Golden Boot at its midway point.
Sergio Aguero (12), Raheem Sterling (12), Romelu Lukaku (10) and Wayne Rooney (10) also form part of the chasing pack ahead of the second half of 2017-18.
Raheem Sterling is being much maligned for his refusal to sign a new contract with Liverpool – some of that criticism is fair, some of it isn’t. The big issue for me though is that all this should not be taking place in the media in public.
Whilst I think a £100,000 a week contract is more than fair for a player of his ability and potential I can see there are two key issues at play.
- Firstly the potential to win trophies and play in the Champions League football is key to any young footballer. Once again Liverpool have failed to qualify for the Champions League – to not have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world is going to be frustrating for Sterling. Liverpool haven’t won a trophy since 2012, when they beat Cardiff on penalties to win the League Cup.
- Secondly, Liverpool Football Club seem to have once again chosen the wrong time for contract negotiations. Sterling, in an interview with the BBC, claimed his future could have been resolved after last season’s title challenge. He said: “If, at that point in time, I was offered a contract, I most definitely would have signed straight away and probably for far less money than is being said now. I think the timing was a bit off.”
Negotiations are negotiations – people say all kinds of things in those meetings to get that compromise that everyone is happy with. But the problem is that currently these thoughts and comments are being made in the press, in front of all of the Liverpool fans. This is what has really led to their criticism of Sterling. It’s little wonder that he received a mixed reception at Liverpool’s end-of-season awards ceremony when he collected the young player of the year prize to a combination of boos, heckling and some applause.
I think Jamie Carragher is completely right to tell Sterling to “keep your mouth shut” and “get on with playing football”. He said on Sky’s Monday Night Football:
“For a 20-year-old kid to be taking on Liverpool Football Club over a contract. To the pit of my stomach that just winds me up, it angers me.
The lad is from London and he obviously wants to go back home. It might not be about money. It may be about trophies or playing in the Champions League. If it’s about trophies, Liverpool had a chance for a trophy this year, in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Aston Villa. Where was Sterling? If you want trophies, they don’t get given to you, you have to earn them, you have to play well in big games. What did Liverpool do in the Champions League? Nothing. What did Sterling do? Nothing.
To do what he’s done now. There’s nothing worse than that. You keep your mouth shut – get on with playing football.”
New Reds signing Daniel Sturridge has said he will continue to get better, following his debut goal in the FA Cup win at Mansfield.
Sturridge, who hasn’t played a senior game since November, took just seven minutes for his debut against Mansfield to open his account for the Reds.
He said to the Liverpool Echo:
“I am lacking sharpness in front of goal. I missed a few chances but hopefully once I get my fitness those ones that I missed will go in. I was quite tired out there as I haven’t been playing or training much over the last few months. But I’m grateful to the boss for giving me nearly 60 minutes. I haven’t had much training. I’ve only had three sessions with the lads and then a light session on Saturday before the game.”
The 23 year old also praised his new team-mates following the win, but singled out Jonjo Shelvey for his perfectly weighted pass which lead to the striker’s opener:
“It was a great pass from Jonjo – the vision and the weight of the pass for the goal was perfect. He made it quite easy for me to take the shot first time. We haven’t had much time to work on stuff but we were both on the same wavelength. We get on well on and off the field.”
“All the lads have been great with me and they’ve made it easy for me to settle in over the past few days. I want to say thank you to them for making me feel so welcome. I look forward to playing with them for many years to come”
How did everyone rate his opening performance? Do you think Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling can form a lethal partnership upfront?