He was Liverpool’s best attacker against Manchester City but his highlights reel would still cut down to scuffs and bloopers
Watching Mohamed Salah warm up before this game was to be struck by exactly the wrong thing. There is usually a kind of shock factor to seeing elite athletes close-up, a moment of higher-species recognition. For example, watching Harry Kane run through his shooting routine before the Champions League game at the San Siro two weeks ago was to be struck by how astonishingly good Kane is when it comes to the basic business of battering a football into the tiniest of spaces.
With Salah, not so much. Instead he fluffed and shanked and screwed and peppered the advert boards. Eventually he shrugged and wandered off, unbothered. But then Salah is unlike any other player in many ways. He was unlike any other player last season too, during that period of rock’n’roll madness when he seemed unable to miss. And he was unlike anyone else on the pitch at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, a man who seemed to be still carrying that personal pocket of space around even as he continued to make and squander chances, as wasteful as a decadent lord.
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