Mohamed Salah returned to Liverpool’s starting line-up against Crystal Palace and immediately showed the pressure on Harvey Elliott. The Egyptian is near impossible to replace.
Salah returned how you’d imagine he would – with a perfectly timed run and finish. It was a wonderful goal and while Fabinho’s pass played a huge part, Salah proved a point with it.
In short, he’s a player Liverpool will struggle to ever replace. He has too many qualities and this goal, as relatively simple as it was, showed them off.
His willingness to run is unparalleled, while he timed it to perfection. Then he made the finish look easy as Salah is, on top of anything else, a fantastic goal-scorer.
His assist for Sadio Mane’s goal, too, was unbelievably good. First time on his wrong foot, Salah put his teammate through before anyone saw the possibility.
Now, they’re all qualities you can find but incredibly rare in one player. More than that, though, is how important they are to Liverpool.
Salah didn’t play against Everton and it showed. The Reds lacked his runs, his ability to find chances and a truly direct forward. His return immediately changed everything.
He sharpened the attack and found a way to threaten Palace every time Liverpool went forward. Such was his influence, that it highlighted the pressure on Elliott.
Because Elliott is undoubtedly the preferred successor. Salah is 28, after all, and has another three or four years before he begins to really slow down.
Elliott will be into his 20s by then and ready to step up. Given his promise and his progression, he’s set for a prominent role on Liverpool’s right.
But he’s got to live up to some incredibly high standards. Elliott doesn’t have to be a carbon copy, of course, but as Salah showed against Palace, his successor must play a very important role.