Comparing Mo Salah’s first season to other Liverpool goalscoring greats

Quick Reads

Mo Salah is having one hell of a debut season for Liverpool – but how does it compare to the first campaign of some of the club’s best goalscorers during the Premier League era?

The Egyptian has scored 22 Premier League goals, putting him second in the scoring charts both domestically and in Europe’s top five leagues.

He became the first Liverpool player in four years to get past 15 Premier League goals in one season, and made it to 30 in all competitions with his Champions League strike against Porto in the week.

Salah became the second quickest player in the history of the club to reach 30 goals (after George Allan in the 19th century) as he hit the milestone on his 36th appearance.

He still has some way to go, however, if he wants to catch Ian Rush, who scored 47 goals in all competitions in the 1983-84 season.

We’ve taken a closer look at Salah’s debut campaign, and compared it to some of the best first full seasons Anfield has witnessed since the Premier League was formed.

Robbie Fowler

Fowler came through the ranks at Liverpool and made his professional debut just a few months after helping England win the European under-18 championships in 1993.

In one of his first senior games for the club, he scored five goals in a League Cup tie against Fulham – making him the fourth player in Liverpool’s history to achieve such feat.

In total, he grabbed 12 Premier League goals in 28 appearances – 18 in all competitions – as an 18-year-old. Liverpool struggled to an eighth-place finish, however, in a season which ultimately cost Graeme Souness his job.

Fast-forward to now and that is nothing compared to Salah, who is averaging a goal every 1.2 games and sees his side lying third in the Premier League table, and with one foot firmly in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Michael Owen

Another fresh-faced youngster, Owen’s first full season in senior football came between the ages of 17 and 18.

He replaced an injured Fowler in the squad, and was a regular starter, scoring 18 goals in 36 Premier League appearances – 23 in all competitions – earning him the Golden Boot.

During the season, he signed a £10,000-a-week contract, making him the highest-paid teenager in the history of English football.

While Salah has already tallied more goals than Owen, he may lament that he faces much stiffer competition in the race for the Golden Boot.

Emile Heskey

Don’t laugh, you at the back. It often gets forgotten just how good a debut campaign Heskey enjoyed at Anfield.

A 22-year-old Heskey joined Liverpool for a then-club record £11million in January 2000, moving from boyhood club Leicester City.

In the 2000-01 campaign, his first full season with the club, the England frontman scored 14 Premier League goals from 36 appearances – 22 in all competitions.

Liverpool won the treble that year, lifting the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, with Heskey starting in all three finals. On the back of that, Heskey also went on to start in the Charity Shield and UEFA Super Cup, both of which Liverpool lifted.

Again, Salah’s goalscoring exploits are far greater, but when it comes to lifting trophies and having medals round your neck, the Egyptian only has the Champions League left in his sights this term.

READ: Finding beauty in unorthodox wingers, from Emile Heskey to Dirk Kuyt

Fernando Torres

Torres’ debut season at Anfield was a lot more fruitful, and in fact he is the only player to score more goals than Salah in his debut season (so far).

He netted 24 goals in 33 Premier League appearances, while making it to 33 in all competitions, so it still looks likely that the Egyptian will catch Torres.

Those exploits, though, made him the most prolific foreign goalscorer in a debut season in England, saw him finish second in the race for the Golden Boot, and joined Roger Hunt in the record books, equalling his achievement of scoring in eight-consecutive league games at Anfield.

Torres’ Liverpool finished fourth that season, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they were famously knocked out by Chelsea.

Luis Suarez

While Suarez continues to register incredible stats at Barcelona, he didn’t have the best start to life in the Premier League.

In his first full season, the 2011-12 campaign, Suarez received an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

As a result, Suarez scored just 11 goals in 31 Premier League appearances, though the club won the League Cup and the striker managed a sixth-placed finish in the Ballon D’Or.

In the next two seasons he scored an impressive 30 and 31 goals in all competitions, but Salah looks set to beat both by some distance this campaign.

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