Battle between Kane and Salah heats up ahead of Champions League final

The battle between Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah is just one of the many sub-plots to the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool.

The pair battled it out for last season’s Premier League Golden Boot, which Salah won, and were on course for another tussle this campaign before Kane suffered two serious injuries.

PA Graphics

PA Graphics

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the clash between the two kingpin strikers.

Premier League prowess

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Kane has already etched his name into the Premier League hall of fame with his incredible goalscoring record. He has scored 125 goals in 181 appearances and, aged only 25, he will have Alan Shearer’s record all-time record of 260 firmly in his sights. He bags on average every 116 minutes and won consecutive Golden Boots in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

He might have been eyeing a third until Salah came along in 2017. The Egyptian, who previously had a spell at Chelsea, has taken the division by storm in the last two seasons, scoring 56 goals in 87 appearances – at an average of one every 119 minutes. Salah claimed the Golden Boot in 2017-18 with 32 goals and was a joint winner this season with 22.

Interstingly, Kane had better stats this season, which was curtailed by two serious ankle injuries and – had the England captain continued his scoring rate over 28 games for the full season – he would have scored more than Salah. Either way, there is no debating that they are both brilliant goalscorers.

Champions League credentials

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Kane has always loved the big stage and has taken to playing Champions League football especially well. The striker has an impressive record of 14 goals in 18 appearances, that works out at 0.82 goals per game. He got to that tally quicker than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and has bagged against Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Juventus.

Salah has had far more experience in Europe’s premier club competition, having played for Roma, Basel and Chelsea before his move to Anfield. But his record is not as strong as Kane’s as he has scored 17 goals in 39 games, which works out roughly as one every other game.

A key presence

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As you would expect, both Tottenham and Liverpool fare better with their main men in the side. Much of the Reds’ success over the last two seasons has been down to the fact Salah has played a lot of football. He has missed just five of 108 games and only one this season. Liverpool won 65 games of the 103 he played – a 63.1 per cent win rate – and lost 15, with 23 draws. Of the five games he was absent for, Liverpool won three, equating to 60 per cent.

Kane’s ankle injuries over the last two seasons means there is a much larger sample pool for games he has missed. The striker has played 87 times over the last two seasons, with Spurs winning 52 of those – 59.8 per cent. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have had to play 25 times without him and they won only 14 of those at 56 per cent, losing nine and drawing two.

Importance of goals

Spurs won 12 of the 19 Premier League games where Harry Kane scored

Spurs won 12 of the 19 Premier League games where Harry Kane scored (Adam Davy/PA)

The stats for Salah are pretty clear, when he scores, Liverpool win. They won 20 of the 22 Premier League games he scored in, scoring the winning goal on three occasions, while 12 of them were ‘go ahead goals’. He bagged four times in the Champions League and all four ended up being wins.

Tottenham won just 12 of the 17 league games that Kane scored in, and only one of his goals was a decisive goal in the game. Eight of them, though were go ahead goals. Of the five Champions League goals he bagged, only two were wins, though his goals directly achieved those successes.

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