Garth Crooks believes Mohamed Salah is a ‘negative effect’ on some of his Liverpool teammates. The pundit feels the Egyptian is after individual glory.

Garth Crooks didn’t offer a flattering opinion of Mohmed Salah in his latest Team of the Week piece. The Egyptian didn’t make the side, though Crooks decided to have a dig regardless.

“Mohamed Salah only seems interested in the Golden Boot,” said Crooks. “And I think that is having a negative effect on some of his team mates.”

Now, Crooks picked a very strange moment to say this, though he’s not entirely wrong to. But saying it after a weekend where Salah provided a wonderful assist to Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s opener doesn’t look great.

But it is true that Salah made some poor decisions in the game. He always looked to score first, passing up some opportunities to assist teammates. Liverpool, arguably, could have been out of sight with some different choices there.

We don’t necessarily believe that’s a case of Salah chasing the Golden Boot, though. It could well be that he doesn’t back his teammates to score.

And why would he? Salah has been Liverpool’s only reliable goalscorer this season. He’s got 20 Premier League goals this season – Saturday’s effort was only Mane’s ninth.

And Mane is Liverpool’s second-top scorer.

Photo by ZAC GOODWIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In total, Salah has 29 goals this season, consistently finding the back of the net at a time when no one else can. Liverpool would be utterly lost without him, in truth.

But he does have to find a balance. The Reds must win their remaining games to qualify for the Champions League and Salah can’t do that on his own. In fact, he proved on Saturday just how vital his creativity will be to get those points.

So as long as Salah is having a positive effect on the team – and he undoubtedly did against Southampton – then we won’t accuse him of chasing the Golden Boot. Because as much as he almost certainly wants it, we’re willing to bet he wants Champions League football a little more.

And the only way he’s getting that is by being the magnificent all-around footballer we know he is. If we’re sitting here in a week, after the Manchester United and West Brom fixtures, and still worrying about Salah’s motivation, then we’ll worry.

Until then, we think it’s incredibly harsh to criticise a player who has played a bigger part than anyone in keeping Liverpool in the top four race.

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