The Warm-Up: Salah is having a poor season, you say?
Plus: Aboubakar Kamara is actually having a poor season, PSG lack personality and Vinicius Jr. gets nervous in front of Zinedine Zidane.
MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Mohamed Salah is having an exceptional season…
…perhaps not as exceptional as last season but exceptional all the same. The 26-year-old hit a mind-boggling 32 goals in 36 league games last year in the league and is on 19 goals after 32 games this season. That is still an elite return for a wide forward, and sees the Egyptian as the leading Premier League goalscorer alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
Yet, he has come in for criticism.
It is fair to say the criticism has stung Salah, who, after the Reds’ win against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on March 31, said the following:
"I didn't score for a couple of games but there are some players who has the same number of goals as me but people are saying those players are having the best season of their life. There are three or four players and no-one talks about them - they say they have a good season and I'm the only one that has had a bad season. I want to win the Premier League - that is the most important thing to me."
The Warm-Up thinks the technical term here is triggered. And rightly so. Salah has put up elite numbers, led his Liverpool team to within touching distance of the title and the Champions League semi-finals, and is getting pelters. This after a World Cup year, and a World Cup where, despite protestations otherwise, he was injured for and after.
Let’s be honest, the former Chelsea man was never going to sustain the rate at which he was scoring last season – that territory remains the preserve of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – but he remains a player capable of changing the trajectory of games, and the title itself, with flashes of genius.
And that was exactly what he did against Chelsea, more or less putting the result beyond any doubt with a thunderous, vicious effort just two minutes after Sadio Mane had opened the scoring for the Reds. What Liverpool need from Salah now is for him to be decisive in the big moments. He was against Tottenham, he was against Southampton and he was against Chelsea – continue in this vein and he will have had a better season than last year.
Premier League football, Liverpool versus Chelsea; Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's second goal with Jordan Henderson of Liverpool in minute 53Getty Images
Manchester City are a juggernaut
Liverpool, on balance, have done pretty much everything within their power to win a first league title since 1990. Yet, while they sit top, the league title remains in the hands of Manchester City, who have a game in hand. It is ludicrous that the Reds could finish the season on 97 points, having lost one game all season and still not win the league. Mad.
In fact, Liverpool’s current haul of 85 points would have won them the Premier League title in nine of the 27 seasons the Premier League has been in existence – with one of those years, 1992/93, a 42-game season. Jurgen Klopp’s men should really be running away with the league. But nope.
And the reason behind that is Manchester City are a brutally good football team who are absolutely relentless and on the cusp of a quadruple. Liverpool might not win the Premier League, and, as it stands, they probably won't and that says much for just how good this Manchester City side are.
City beat Crystal Palace in an utter procession on Sunday - the same Palace team who beat them at Etihad (i.e. they are no mugs).
PSG lack personality, apparently
PSG were humbled on Sunday night. Absolutely humbled. It was a humbling, The Warm-Up can tell you. The Parisian side could have clinched their eighth title in their history and sixth in seven years by avoiding defeat at second-placed Lille. However, Juan Bernat had himself what can be best described as an evening by scoring and also getting himself sent off at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Bernat was dismissed with 36 minutes gone but the French champions held on until the 51st minute before the floodgates opened, with Nicolas Pépé (51) Jonathan Bamba (65) Gabriel Dos Santos (71) and Jose Fonte [!] (84) adding to Thomas Meunier’s seventh minute own goal to give Lille a comprehensive win, and hand PSG their heaviest defeat in 19 years.
Anyway, all the on goings left one Kylian Mbappe pretty perturbed, with the 20-year-old having the below to say post-match.
"We're going to be champions but we cannot lose like this," Mbappe said.
"It's not normal. We lack personality, it's one of our flaws, we have to correct this. We played like debutants."
Now, a fairly reasonable summation of goings on by the World Cup winner was ruined by the use of the word 'personality', as The Warm-Up files said word in the same bracket as ‘I believe in this project’ fame - and that bracket is complete and utter nonsense. It makes no sense. It is corporate jargon. Utter guff. It also a cop out. Lost today? Lack of personality. Means absolutely nothing, and offers no actual analysis of why and how a side lost.
IN OTHER NEWS
France win the inaugural FIFA eNations Cup.
Now, The Warm-Up is going to be honest here. We're sceptical as to whether sports should follow the e in esports. In essence, playing a computer is not a sport. However, facts are facts and France seem to be cornering the market of winning FIFA football tournaments, whether they are sports or not. Perhaps there is a eSports area in Clairefontaine, perhaps not.
IN THE CHANNELS
Aboubakar Kamara left Fulham under a bit of a cloud after taking a penalty off team-mate Aleksandar Mitrovic (and missing it), getting into a fight with Mitrovic during a yoga session, and then apparently getting arrested in late January at their Motspur Park training ground.
Anyway, the 24-year-old moved to Yeni Malatyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig, where, on Sunday he did the following.
Tenuous link over, here's Diego Maradona, making a mockery of the doubling up that was regularly employed against him, scoring an absolute pearler.
Arsenal travel, ergo lose, at Watford in the Premier League on Monday night.
Nick Miller, who has bundles of personality is on Warm-Up duty on Tuesday morning, where the current eWarm-Up Cup champion (Tetris seeing as you asked) will bring all of that personality.