Liverpool star Mohamed Salah named PFA player of the year
Egyptian player has scored 41 goals in 46 appearances in debut season for Liverpool
Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah arrives for the 2018 PFA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire
Mohamed Salah has been crowned the PFA Player of the Year after an explosive first season at Liverpool.
Few could have foreseen the Egyptian magician’s impact after he swapped Roma for Anfield last summer in a £34.3 million (€39 million) deal.
It has certainly proven money well spent and Salah’s exceptional performances have brought recognition from his peers in his first season back in English football.
The 25-year-old Egyptian was named player of the year at the 45th PFA awards at Grosvenor House in central London on Sunday evening, having seen off tough competition from Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
The pair have been the standout players of a memorable campaign, with the Belgium international playing an integral role as Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling side won the Premier League in style.
Leroy Sane – crowned PFA young player of the year on Sunday – and David Silva were the other City players on the six-man shortlist, with outstanding Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and free-scoring Tottenham striker Harry Kane completing the nominees.
But it is Salah that has come out on top after one of the greatest debut campaigns in Liverpool’s history.
“It’s a big honour. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Asked what it meant to become the first Egyptian to win the award, he said: “Hopefully I’m not the last one! I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”
His strike at West Brom on Saturday was his 31st Premier League goal of the campaign, tying the record for the 38-game season.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record and also break the one for [a 42-game season]. Let’s see what will happen.”
Luis Suarez was the last Reds player to win the award in 2014 and he too could do the double by winning the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
The voting for that accolade is still open and the victor is named on May 1st – the day before the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Salah’s former club Roma.
A telling impact in Tuesday’s first leg at Anfield may see him tip the scales and wrap up another award as a season to cherish comes to a close.
Salah’s performances have captivated and enthralled Liverpool fans this term — and left Chelsea ruing what could have been.
The west Londoners signed the callow attacker from Swiss giants Basel after impressing Europe with his skill and speed.
But things did not work out for the Egypt international at Stamford Bridge, leading to loan spells at Fiorentina and then fellow Serie A giants Roma.
Salah’s move to the Italian capital was made permanent in 2016 and the following year he headed to Anfield, where he has plundered a remarkable 41 goals in just 46 appearances in all competitions.
Such is the forward’s impact that he became the first player in Premier League history to claim player of the month awards three times in the same season after winning it for November, February and March.
Salah is a shoo-in for Liverpool’s end-of-season accolades and the man nicknamed “the Egyptian King” looks set to reign at Anfield for a long time to come.
Chelsea Ladies forward Fran Kirby won the women’s player of the year award, while Lauren Hemp of Bristol City secured the young player prize.
The PFA’s merit award went posthumously to Cyrille Regis, the former West Brom forward who died aged 59 in January.
The award was recognition of Regis’s pioneering role in changing attitudes towards black footballers in England.