Salah’s stats back award but Liverpool face bother if he becomes free agent

Mo Salah is the best player in the Premier League at the moment.

That is why he is the Footballer of the Year in 2021 for me.

His stats back it up. 36 goals in the calendar year. That includes 21 in 22 games so far this season

There is the evidence that he is a prolific goalscorer and he’s not even an out-and-out striker.

But this is not just based on stats. You just need to watch him.

Be at Anfield when he gets on the ball. Feel the sense of anticipation among the home fans and trepidation from the away support.

It is a feeling I’ve only felt before when watching Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in their pomp.

It is something that was sensed when you go back further to the likes of Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp or Alan Shearer.

You feel something is going to happen; a dazzling run, a ridiculous goal or some other moment of magic.

Of course, Salah is not on the level of those greats just yet.

But for now, he is currently the best in England for me.

Kevin De Bruyne has a claim to the crown but other than that it’s difficult to see who gets close.

The Egyptian was ranked No 7 in the Ballon d’Or standings.

Is Mohamed Salah your footballer of the year? Have your say here

Further proof if you need it that the whole thing is just football’s version of a beauty pageant.

Ronaldo was above him more so for his exploits at Juventus last season.

But were N’Golo Kante and Jorginho – two very good and very important players for Chelsea – better than Salah in 2021?

They obviously won more team honours but Salah scored 15 goals in the second half of last season when the Reds were rocked by injuries.

Now with the team flying high, his numbers are going up even further.

It is remarkable to think that Chelsea had Salah and didn’t see the potential was there for him to develop into a world class player.

Liverpool spotted it when he was at Roma but eyebrows were raised – including from me – when they paid £34m for him in 2017.

Why were the Reds buying a player who couldn’t make it at Chelsea was the lazy assumption.

Kop boss Jurgen Klopp was irked by the ignorance.

Yet here we are four-and-a-half years on and the thought is if Liverpool don’t get the Egyptian ace to sign a new contract then they are facing a fair bit of bother.

Salah would be snapped up by any team in the world if he lets his contract run down and is a free agent in 2023.

While some clubs with a bit of financial power may try to tempt the Reds to cash in next summer if he doesn’t pen a new deal.

He would be the hottest property on the market.

For now, he remains with Liverpool and they hope he will lead them to Premier League and European trophies this season.

And if he does it would be more evidence of his brilliance.

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