Liverpool came into their match against Stoke City on Saturday knowing a win would go a long way in guaranteeing their place in the top four and qualification for the Champions League next season.
Fans are hoping the club will seal their place by winning the Champions League this season and with one match to go until the final, they have a good chance. However, Real Madrid are the likely opponents in the final and they will be the toughest European opponent Liverpool have faced this season.
Jurgen Klopp did not want to leave things to chance and selected a strong team against Stoke City at Anfield, with Mohamed Salah in the starting XI.
Salah was looking to break the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League season and the Egyptian was in excellent form going into the match. The forward has scored in each of his previous six games in all competitions, including two in the most recent match at home to Roma in the Champions League.
Scoring against a relegation threatened Stoke City team should have been no problem but when put through on goal in the early stages of the first half, Salah lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and beyond the near post.
The home crowd gasped in shock as the ball went wide. Everyone was expecting to see the ball nestle in the back of the net, such has been Salah’s record this season but that miss was reminiscent of his time at Roma, when he missed chances to score.
Interestingly, while Salah is the top goal scorer in the Premier League this season, he has also missed more chances than any other player. Salah has missed 21 clear goal scoring opportunities in the Premier League this season and while no one can take away what he has achieved, that’s a significant number of missed chances.
No Rest for Salah
Many onlookers thought Salah may have been rested against Stoke City with the match against Roma in mind but Klopp picked him and Roberto Firmino in attack. It failed to pay off and Liverpool could not force the goal they needed to win the game, meaning Salah has another 90 minutes in his legs ahead of the match in the Italian capital, with no reward.
Liverpool face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their next Premier League game and if they lose that one and Chelsea win their game in hand, at home against Huddersfield Town, Liverpool could be heading into the final day of the Premier League season unsure of their place in the top four.
Salah’s first season at Liverpool could bring a top four place and the Champions League trophy. It could also bring neither of those things and the pressure in on going into the final games of the season.