As the links to Saudi Arabia refuse to go away, is Mo Salah really prepared to ditch his quest for further records to break with Liverpool?


THE concept of legacy isn’t as immovable as we think.

Defining legacy can be completely based on individual, sometimes skewed opinion.

If this rather queer summer of football transfers has taught us anything, it’s that legacy isn’t as binary as we perhaps perceived.

Quite how history will define Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at Liverpool remains to be seen. The smart money is on snapshots of trophy lifts and rattling slide tackles which take both Luis Suarez and the ball.

But there’s an element of dissatisfaction around endings for both. About pitiful goodbyes and an undeniable reality that a 29-year-old no longer fancied it, while Liverpool’s captain refused to accept that honour for as long as he possibly could.

Legacy across history is skewed to suit the narrative of the day. In 2002, Winston Churchill, a man whose casual racism and antisemitism is widely known, was voted the greatest ever Briton.

That is, of course, due to his stewardship through the Second World War. There is scant regard to his attitude and action to certain groups, or that he lost the first post-war general election by a healthy landslide to Clement Attlee and Labour.

Yet the pot-banging nationalist constituencies and head-banging prime ministers of the day still revere Churchill. His legacy is that of a chief strategist who fought off the Nazis. True, but not entirely reflective and subsequently worthy of the greatness bestowed. This is the power of subjective legacy.

If there is evidence, therefore, that history views legacy on achievements and raw data alone, then who can blame the Cristiano Ronaldos of the world. The players with a reputation for seeking individual plaudits over team success.

This is hardly ever true. Ronaldo is maybe the only example of such single-mindedness to this extreme. We’ve all heard stories about padding out stats and playing for bonuses. But at the very top, lone and collective success is what drives the game’s true elite. This was always at the core of the Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi arguments.

Mohamed Salah is a perfect modern-day example. A player who takes Liverpool failure seemingly worse than anyone else at the club, while remaining completely immersed in how Ian Rush managed to score 336 career goals for The Reds.

Salah loves a record. He hunts them down relentlessly like prey. If Liverpool aren’t achieving success, Salah isn’t climbing the individual scoring charts with the same level of ferocity and enjoyment.

At the time of writing, he is being heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia at the age of 31. It’s wise to assess where the Egyptian is placed across the all-time scoring charts when considering the Saudi murmurs.

He is Liverpool’s top Premier League and European scorer of all time on 138 and 42 respectively.

He has 44 Champions League goals – four off Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a couple of others in joint 10th.

He stands at 140 Premier League goals keeping him outside the top ten, with Michael Owen (150) in 10th place. For added context, eighth place Jermaine Defoe (163) is well within his sights this season, if not next.

The “if not next” is the question on people’s lips. Jürgen Klopp has today dismissed any element of being “team sound” when it comes to players potentially leaving by meeting the Salah rumours with a firm rebuttal.

There remains a casual apathy from some about inevitably losing Salah to the Middle East next summer, if not this

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s very own king is knocking about on social media with a look resembling the artist formerly known as Prince and playing online chess. Zero fucks seemingly given.

Who says he wants to go anywhere? Who says he isn’t clocking Roger Hunt’s 259 Liverpool goals over the course of the next two seasons. If you think he’s giving up penalties, you had better be prepared to be disappointed.

What we’ve seen from the minute Salah entered the club is a player and person so defiantly driven by legacy. One who has preserved his body for the purpose of longevity.

A player who stared down Steven Gerrard and Robbie Fowler goal records and set about his aim to usurp them. A person who knew they’d paint a mural and eventually build a statue because he represented the very best times for a supporter base’s entire generation.

He’s created enough “Hang it in the Louvre” moments to last a lifetime. Ask me in 10 years of an image which defines Klopp’s tenure most and I’ll tell you of Salah, staring down the away end, arms aloft in brazen fashion. Surrounded by blue smoke in the cold Manchester air with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain screaming down his ear.

Mohamed Salah came to Liverpool to create a legacy none of us ever dreamed would be possible.

If I was to put my money anywhere, it’s on the fact he’s not done breaking records and fighting the Liverpool fight just yet.

Download The Anfield Wrap’s free app for Liverpool FC podcasts, video and writing all in one place…

Recent Posts: