Salah wins players’ award and turns attention to goalscoring record
Mohamed Salah has been crowned the PFA Player of the Year after an explosive first season at Liverpool.
Few could have foreseen the Egyptian magician’s impact after he swapped Roma for Anfield last summer in a £34.3 million (¤39 million) deal.
It has certainly proven money well spent and Salah’s exceptional performances have brought recognition from his peers in his first season back in English football.
The 25-year-old Egyptian was named player of the year at the 45th PFA awards in central London last night, having seen off tough competition from Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Leroy Sane – crowned PFA young player of the year on Sunday – and David Silva were the other City players on the six-man shortlist, with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane completing the nominees.
But it is Salah that has come out on top after one of the greatest debut campaigns in Liverpool’s history.
“It’s a big honour. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony.
Asked what it meant to become the first Egyptian to win the award, he said: “Hopefully I’m not the last one! I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”
His strike at West Brom on Saturday was his 31st Premier League goal of the campaign, tying the record for the 38-game season.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record and also break the one for [a 42-game season]. Let’s see what will happen.”
Luis Suarez was the last Reds player to win the award in 2014 . They came to see a victorious coronation and were not disappointed. Manchester City fans witnessed a masterclass from their freshly crowned champions on what was a festive afternoon.
It was decorated by a Kevin De Bruyne 20-yard peach that rocketed past Lukasz Fabianski after 54 minutes on a right-left diagonal that was as pure a connection as possible.
This had the perfectionist Pep Guardiola blowing his cheeks in admiration and the Etihad Stadium offering a collective ”ooh”.
This 29th victory takes Guardiola’s impressive team to 90 points, six from breaking Chelsea’s record Premier League total of 95. If the maximum remaining are taken City will break the century and finish on 102. They also have 98 goals, six short of breaking the highest-ever tally of 103, again by Chelsea.
For his stated mission of ending the season with five victories Guardiola made two changes. Kyle Walker and Leroy Sané became substitutes – alongside Benjamin Mendy after seven months out with a knee injury - as Danilo and Bernardo Silva took their places in a still formidable XI.
Carlos Carvalhal made one alteration - Luciano Narsingh being replaced by Mike van der Hoorn, as the manager continued Swansea City’s survival bid. His team formed a pre-game guard of honour as a banner was unveiled that read: “Welcome to the home of the Premier League champions”.
Guardiola’s men began and ended as they nearly always do at home: in control. Fabianski’s first action was to catch a
The number of victories Manchester City have recorded in league so far
Mawson wandered forward and took aim at Ederson. The Brazilian collected but this was as good as the visitors were before the break.
The second half began with a lightening foray that included a David Silva step-over and ended with Danilo’s cross flashing before Fabianksi.
After De Bruyne’s sublime finish City continued to dominate. Sterling won a penalty, Jesus’s effort from the spot was palmed on to the post via a Fabianski palm, and Bernardo Silva slotted in the rebound.
It might have been more but Mawson’s back-header rebounded to safety off the left post. There was even time for a 15-minute cameo from Mendy and for City to secure a fifth as Yaya Touré’s lob was headed home by Jesus: it was that kind of day for City. – Guardian
City’s victory was decorated by a Kevin De Bruyne 20-yard peach after 54 minutes.
Mohamed Salah: saw off competition from City’s Kevin De Bruyne