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The chase is on
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 11 - 2018

Egypt's superstar Mohamed Salah continued his great run of form as he notched his seventh league goal of the season and ninth overall when he guided Liverpool to a 3-0 win over hosts Watford.
Salah and Liverpool travelled to Watford knowing they were in for a very difficult game against a team doing wonders this season under their manager Javi Garcia. The first half was difficult for Salah and his teammates as Watford tried their best to control Liverpool's attacking trio of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino but all three still managed to come close to scoring but were denied by some heroic goalkeeping from Ben Foster.
However, there was no denying Salah in the 67th minute as the Egyptian goal machine opened the scoring from inside the box after being set up by Mane. Foster tried to stop Salah's shot but the ball squeezed underneath him much to the delight of the Egyptian Pharaoh who celebrated in new fashion, showing the fans three fingers from each hand probably to remind them this was his sixth strike against the hosts.
Nine minutes later Alexander Arnold scored a magnificent free kick to kill any hopes of a comeback for the hosts before Firmino scored a much needed goal in the dying seconds of the game to ensure the Reds will go back home worthy winners.
Salah will surely be buoyed by yet another goal that reduced the gap between him and the top goal scorer of the league Sergio Aguero to just one goal after Aguero failed to find the back of the net against West Ham despite his team winning 4-0.
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his eighth league goal of the season against Bournemouth this week to join Aguero at the top followed by six players with seven goals apiece, including Salah. Salah has now scored in four of his last five league games, making those who labelled him a one season wonder look silly. The best part is that the player himself knows he's still not nearly back to his best.
Fan favourite Salah stressed after the game that he is still getting started this season and promised to score more and supply plenty of goals in the coming weeks to help his side as they aim to do the unthinkable by winning the Premier League for the first time in almost 30 years at the expense of Manchester City. To be honest, City are a class apart so far this season, destroying teams week-in week-out without even breaking sweat thanks to an unbelievable squad depth.
Salah's focus now turns to arguably Liverpool's most important game of the season so far as they travel to Paris to face Paris Saint Germain in a game that could decide their Champions League fate. Despite topping the group alongside Napoli with six points from four games each, the Reds will be in a very complicated situation if they suffer defeat in Paris and Napoli defeat Red Star as expected. This will mean that Liverpool will have to defeat Napoli by a two-goal margin in their final game of the group stage to qualify at Napoli's expense after losing in Italy 1-0. A draw in Paris will mean Liverpool can win by any score in their last game to qualify to round 16 while a win in Paris will mean Liverpool will need just a draw against Napoli to seal qualification.
In all cases, there is no better stage for Salah to showcase his abilities than this game, so let's hope he'll manage to add to the two Champions League goals he scored against Red Star at Anfield in game three.


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