If somebody tells you they predicted Mohamed Salah scoring over 40 goals for Liverpool this season, it’s safe to assume they’re telling fibs.
Nobody saw this coming.
Although we knew Salah was capable of scoring goals on a fairly regular basis - he banged in 19 in 41 games for AS Roma last season prior to his £36 million move to Anfield - there were no signs that he could reach Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo levels.
But that’s precisely what’s happened this season.
In his first 47 games for Liverpool, Salah has netted a remarkable 43 goals. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he will finish his debut campaign on Merseyside with 50 goals in all competitions.
Salah, who was named the PFA’s Premier League Player of the Year earlier this week, is currently the bookmakers’ second favourite to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or, only behind Ronaldo.
And his odds will tumble even further if Liverpool are crowned European champions in Kiev next month.
Journalist has received stick all season for Salah comments
One person who didn’t see this coming, at all, is BBC journalist Mina Rzouki who, you suspect, will never be allowed to forget what she said about Salah following his move to Liverpool last summer.
The Serie A expert, who’d watched Salah closely last season, compared the Egypt international to Juan Cuadrado and doubled whether he possessed the footballing intelligence required to shine at the highest level.
“He is very good and direct and he has a lot of pace about him,” she said on BBC Radio 5 Live ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. “I’m not convinced of his footballing IQ. I do think he’s a player that tends to run forward and then looks second, which irritates me somewhat.
“For me, he is a flying [Juan] Cuadrado. And as much talent as both of those players have - they have the pace, they have the technique, they know what to do with the ball - it’s just channeling it at the right moments and making the right decisions when there is a lot of pressure."
Rzouki has now tweeted - Liverpool fans react
But finally, after months of being mercilessly trolled by Liverpool fans, Rzouki tweeting after the Reds’ 5-2 win over AS Roma in mid-week, admitting she’d got it badly wrong.
“Im sorry I never imagined Salah was capable of this when he was at Roma,” she said. “He has truly developed into a sensation at Liverpool and under Klopp. As for Firmino, wow!”
Fair play to her for holding her hands up. How many other pundits would do the same?
While some Liverpool fans are still mocking her for her pre-season comments, others feel she should now be left in peace.
We all get things wrong
The fact is, we all get things wrong from time to time, especially when it comes to predictions about football.
One of the best things about football is its unpredictability - and sometimes, like in the case of Rzouki and Salah, it's great to be proved wrong.
Salah has exceeded all expectations and that can only be a good thing.
But let this be a lesson to everyone: write off players at your peril.
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