Mohamed Salah has an incredible record when playing as a striker. It’s something that could prove the making of Jurgen Klopp’s alternative plan.
We’ve written quite a bit recently on Liverpool playing a 4-2-3-1. It’s an alternative system that we very rarely saw last season but, crucially, did see in the Community Shield this year.
Liverpool started that game terribly but Jurgen Klopp changed things up in the second half. He played with a midfield two, pulled Roberto Firmino back into a no.10 role, moved Sadio Mane to the right, and brought Takumi Minamino on to play from the left.
And he made Salah the central striker.
Salah was fantastic at the weekend. He ran at Leeds United, he tried to create, he scored a fantastic goal, and proved clinical from the penalty spot. His hat-trick was more than decisive – it saved Liverpool from embarrassment.
And it also showed just how good Salah can be when he’s on his game. He’s virtually unstoppable, breezing past defenders and finding chances.
All of that blends wonderfully well if Klopp does want to use 4-2-3-1 this season, then, as Salah’s record in that system is nothing short of phenomenal.
No matter where he plays, Salah is the main attacking threat at Liverpool. Mane can certainly have spells as the most dangerous player in the side but things go through Salah. He had the most goals last season, after all, as well as the most assists outside of the full-backs.
According to Understat, Salah played 30 games from the right-wing last season. That delivered the kind of output you’d expect – 17 goals and 10 assists. Fantastic numbers from an elite player.
But he also played as a striker three times last season, scoring twice. And when you look at the season before that, the numbers get out of control.
Salah played on the wing 24 times in 18/19, scoring just nine and assisting two. But Klopp used 4-2-3-1 a lot that season, primarily while Fabinho got used to the 4-3-3. As a result, Salah played 13 games as a striker.
And in that time, Salah scored 13 goals. Not only that, but he got another five assists. Overall, Salah’s record as a central striker in his three years as a Liverpool player reads like this:
Those are truly sensational numbers.
If Klopp does want to try and alternative system this year, then the 4-2-3-1 is almost certainly the way to go. And if he wants to really take advantage of Salah’s form, then you might say the same.
The Egyptian thrives as a striker, putting up the kind of numbers that few players in the world manage. Liverpool might not be at their best in the system – they’re the best in the world with their 4-3-3, after all – but Salah is.
So not only would the switch make Liverpool unpredictable, not only would it freshen up the side without a need for transfers, it also makes their best attacker even better.
And that’s a hugely exciting prospect.