All eyes were on Mohamed Salah when Liverpool took on Monterrey at the Club World Cup in Doha on Wednesday.
There were loud cheers when his name was read out as starting, while the stadium announcer even asked the fans “who’s here to see Mo Salah?” before the game.
Salah’s impact on the Arabic world has been huge as pretty much undeniably the most successful Arabic footballer ever.
Fans in Doha booed players who fouled Salah and cheered virtually everything he did for the first ten minutes.
But they didn’t have to wait too long to see some genuine brilliance from Liverpool’s Egyptian star.
Salah, with his back to goal, received the ball from James Milner about 25 yards out.
He took a touch, waited for a second, then played a wonderful through ball on the turn for Naby Keita.
It completely split the defence in two, nutmegging his marker and sending Keita clean through.
The midfield dispatched it for 1-0 – but this goal was about Salah.
You can check it out below:
With both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane starting on the bench, the pressure was firmly on Salah to be Liverpool’s main attacking threat.
And even if he’s not scoring himself, he provided just that.
Salah went into the game with four goals and three assists in his last four games and so it only took him 11 minutes to keep that streak going.
It means that what initially looked like a slow start to the season for Salah now looks like a very productive one.
This assist against Monterrey was his seventh of the season, taking his contributions up to 20 along with his 13 goals.
There’s little doubt that if Liverpool are going to win trophies this season – from the Club World Cup to the Premier League – Salah will be as integral as ever.