Good news for Liverpool fans: Mo Salah is not a one-shoulder wonder
Any Liverpool fans who have been wondering what might have been in the wake of Sergio Ramos’ claims that Mo Salah could have played on in the Champions League final if he had really wanted to, will have got peace of mind from this evening’s World Cup game between Russia and Salah’s Egypt.
Ramos, who inflicted Salah’s shoulder ligament damage as the pair tumbled to the ground in a tussle in the first-half of last month’s clash in Kiev, had claimed that the Reds star should have taken a painkilling injection and continued to play.
But three-and-a-half weeks on from the Champions League final, Salah returned to action in Egypt’s second group game. He cut an ineffectual figure as Egypt struggled against hosts Russia as his side slipped to a 3-1 defeat.
Salah got himself on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, having won the penalty himself, but he was far from the Salah who scored 44 goals for the Reds last season. He struggled to get into the game in the first-half, carried himself gingerly and was clearly trying to avoid contact with his injured shoulder. With his thoughts elsewhere, his control sometimes let him down.
The tentative display meant his game looked limited and his play lacked its usual thrust. He did manage a couple of flashes of recognisable Salah brilliance, culminating in his consolation goal from the penalty spot, but he was a shadow of the player who has graced Anfield over the past 12 months.
Disappointing for Salah and disappointing for Liverpool fans who were hoping to see him thrive on the international stage, but at least some alleviation for those niggling thoughts after Kiev.
Salah had to give it a go for his country, but he was clearly not fit and under normal circumstances would not have played this game.