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Liverpool finish second, Salah first
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 05 - 2019

Egypt's superstar Mohamed Salah once again confirmed his status as one of the world's best players as he retained the Golden Boot in the Premier League this season. Despite a significant dip in form in the middle of the season that saw Salah go nine league games without scoring, the Liverpool goal machine still managed to score 22 goals to finish level with fellow African teammate Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal as both players scored braces in the final game of the season while Salah drew a blank.
Liverpool finish second, Salah first
The rules of the league meant all three players were given the Golden Boot to make it the first time ever that three African players share the honours for top scorer in the Premier League. Mane plays for Senegal while Aubameyang stars for Gabon.
Salah was obviously delighted with retaining the Golden Boot but couldn't hide his disappointment with the fact that Liverpool failed to win the league despite collecting 97 points, in the process winning 30 games out of 38. What makes it even more agonising is that 97 points would have been enough to win the league in any other season in the history of the Premier League except for last season when Manchester City collected 100 points and this year when Man City bagged 98 points to Liverpool's best ever tally of 97 points. It meant that Liverpool's 29-year wait for the league title is extended yet another season much to the dismay of the Reds fans, players and their unbelievable German coach Jurgen Klopp.
However, Salah and his team will still have a chance to write history on 1 June as they take on Tottenham in the final of the Champions League. It's fair to say Klopp's team have been the best in Europe in the last two seasons after managing to reach their second consecutive Champions League final. Last year, they fell short against Real Madrid when they lost 3-1 after losing Salah to injury inside the first 30 minutes. This time, Salah will be hoping to fire Liverpool to victory against their English rivals and cap off a brilliant season with the most prestigious football club trophy. The Champions League is the ultimate dream of every single player across all the European leagues so for Salah to win it in only his second season with Liverpool will surely be more than a dream come true for our Egyptian superstar, especially after his shoulder injury in the final last year.
This year, Salah and Liverpool were two seconds away from facing Ajax in the final before Tottenham's Lucas Moura completed his hat-trick with almost the last kick of the game to ensure an all-English Champions League final. Liverpool, too, were counted out after going down to Barcelona 3-0 in the first leg of the semi-final before staging one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history, winning 4-0 at Anfield. Both teams have been on fire in the league in recent years and both teams failed to win any silverware with their current managers which will make the battle even more interesting and breathtaking.
Salah won't be the only Egyptian player playing in a European Cup final this season. Mohamed Al-Nenni's Arsenal managed to reach the final of the Europa League where they will face their fierce rivals Chelsea in another all-English final. Arsenal managed to beat Spanish side Valencia 3-1 in London and 4-2 in Spain to reach the final in convincing manner. Al-Nenni was an unused substitute in both legs but the Egyptian midfielder saw plenty of playing time in the competition so far and will feel very much part of the team that reached the final. Let's hope that both Salah and Al-Nenni will manage to win their finals and make it a very memorable year for our Egyptian Premier League stars.


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