Mohamed Salah moved level with Harry Kane in the race to win the Premiership’s Golden Boot award when he scored against Newcastle on Saturday. The Egyptian has been a revelation for Liverpool this season, and we now have a genuine two-horse race on our hands for the top scorer prize.
Kane has won it for the last two years and looked set to make it a hat-trick this time around. But Salah has been utterly relentless and capitalised when Kane drew a blank at Huddersfield at the weekend. The battle to finish top of the chart looks poised to go right down to the wire, and both men have a strong claim for success.
Kane currently heads the betting, priced at 4/6 with the likes of Boyle Sports, Betfair and Sportingbet, and that makes sense as he has been the best striker in England over the last few years. He has still never scored in August, but that has not mattered one jot as Kane has more than made up for it throughout the remainder of the season. He is a magnificent finisher, great in the air and blessed with superb movement off the ball. He has hit 39 goals in 41 games for club and country this season, and 24 of them have come in the Premiership. That represents a return of a goal every 100 minutes, which is impressive stuff.
But Salah has exceeded that, scoring every 92 minutes to sit level with Kane on 24 goals apiece despite playing fewer games. It is an intriguing contest between these two, because Kane is an out-and-out centre forward, a target man, and the focal point of Tottenham’s attacks. He benefits from great service from the likes of Christian Eriksen and is always Spurs’ greatest goal threat. But Salah is effectively a winger, cutting in from wide areas, and his goal scoring prowess is unprecedented for someone in his position.
Gareth Bale was a master of this role during his Tottenham days, ditto Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd and before them Robert Pires at Arsenal. But none of them were scoring with the same regularity as Salah. He benefits from playing alongside Roberto Firmino, who is not your archetypal centre forward. The Brazilian regularly drops deep and looks to play in his teammates, which is hugely beneficial to Salah, whose frightening pace often sees him bursting onto a well-time through ball, one on one with the keeper.
But Salah’s instinct’s in front of goal and his razor-sharp finishing ability are nothing short of astonishing. It evokes another legendary Liverpool forward, Robbie Fowler, and suggests he could make the switch to a central role and continue to thrive. But right now he is excelling from wide areas, and he is playing in a more attacking team than Kane. Liverpool have banged in 67 goals in 29 games this season, 12 more than Tottenham, and they are in sensational form at present.
Of course, there is always the chance of Sergio Aguero muscling his way into contention. Premiership leaders Man City are the league’s top and Aguero has scored every 93 minutes, but injuries have restricted him to fewer games than his rivals, and he is currently on 21 goals, three behind Kane and Salah. If City wrap up the title early and remain in the Champions League, as is expected, they will probably rest him in Premiership games.
The player next on the list, Man City’s Raheem Sterling, is nine goals behind Kane and Salah. Kane deserves to be the favourite, but right now there is great value on the supremely consistent Salah, who is priced at 2/1 with William Hill, Sky Bet, Betfred and Betway, and that looks a really interesting bet on a supremely consistent attacker with just two months left of the season.