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FPL tips: Is it time to ditch Mohamed Salah?

Newcastle United v Liverpool – Premier League – St James’ Park
(Image credit: Peter Powell)

He might be the most expensive player in the Fantasy Premier League, but Mohamed Salah‘s in-game popularity is starting to teeter after a run of poor form.

With both Liverpool and their star man struggling in January, we have taken a look at the data to see if you should back or sack the Reds forward.

Lacking in the league

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah after missing a chance during the Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

(Michael Steele/PA)

There’s no hiding from it, Salah is enduring his worst goal slump in the league in nearly two years with Liverpool, having failed to score in his last five.

The £12.5m FPL must-have now looks like an expensive gamble, having failed to notch against West Brom, Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester United and Burnley, fixtures in which he would be expected to return good points hauls.

Instead he has added just 11 FPL points in that time, while his side have suffered too.

The current champions have scored one goal in five league games, and have failed to win in that period too – is it a blip, or can both player and team recover in time to salvage their season?

Don’t forget Threat

A graphic showing Mohamed Salah's Threat scores per 90 minutes in the Premier League

The underlying data suggests that Salah is having a very good season still, while the raw figures show his early-season goalscoring form was among the best patches any player has ever enjoyed.

Salah tops the Threat charts – the metric which evaluates the quality of chance a player enjoys, with 100 historically accounting for a goal’s worth of chances – with an average score of 54.8 per 90 minutes and the highest cumulative total this season (896).

Only two players have managed to average 50 or more per 90 minutes: Patrick Bamford and Sadio Mane.

Meanwhile, such was Salah’s form earlier in the year that he still sits top of the goal charts, having scored 13 goals in as many games before this five-game slump.

So what’s going on?

Effects of Covid?

Graphic showing Mo Salah's threat per game

Further analysing the Egyptian’s Threat scores reveals that, after he missed a game with Covid-19, Salah found good chances harder to come by.

The forward notched scores of six, 29 and 39 in the three games that followed – before his absence he notched a Threat score of less than 40 just once.

From gameweeks 15 to 17 Salah registered 33, 27 and 24 – not abysmal Threat scores, but lower than his usual standard – and as a result he failed to score in those three games, as well as the following two.

Has Covid-19 blunted Salah’s goalscoring tools? In his most recent league appearance – a 33 minute cameo against Burnley – the forward registered an impressive 47 Threat, working out at 128 per 90.

Furthermore, Salah managed a brace in the Reds’ 3-2 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United – if he can start to score consistently well in the Threat stakes again, FPL managers may be able to consign his five-game goalless streak to history.

If not, Liverpool – as well as millions of FPL bosses – will have a problem on their hands.