What Robbie Fowler has said about Mo Salah after his latest goal is completely fair

Nobody imagined that Mohamed Salah would have a remarkable 40 goals to his name after his first 45 appearances for Liverpool.

Even the most optimistic Liverpool fan wouldn’t have thought this was possible when it was announced that Salah had joined the Reds in a £34 million move from AS Roma last summer.

The Egypt international had scored 19 goals for the Giallorossi last season – an excellent return for any winger – and Liverpool supporters were hoping the former Chelsea flop would end his debut season at Anfield with similar stats.

But 40 goals in all competitions – including 30 in the Premier League – by mid-April is genuinely astonishing.

The 25-year-old hit that latest milestone in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday evening, scoring an uncharacteristic header from a deep Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

Salah became the first Liverpool player to score 40 goals in a season since Ian Rush, who achieved the same feat during the 1986-87 campaign – albeit in 57 games.

Only George Allan hit 30 league goals for Liverpool faster than Salah – and that happened way back in 1896.

Following Saturday’s match, Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has come out and stated his belief that Salah should now be considered a serious contender for the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.

Not many people are saying it yet – perhaps because it seems almost inconceivable that another player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won the prestigious individual accolade every year between them since 2008, could win the award – but Fowler’s point seems a totally fair one now.

“I’m putting on the tin hat before suggesting this but Mo Salah surely deserves to be in the ­running for the Ballon d’Or,” Fowler, aware that some people will disagree with him, wrote in his latest Mirror column. “I’m not saying he’s going to win it, in fact I’m pretty sure he won’t the way the whole thing is structured.

“But I am saying – passionately – that it’s time to look beyond the almost knee-jerk leaning towards Ronaldo or Messi.

“Don’t get me wrong, they are two of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

“People get misty eyed over the pair of them, and quite rightly. They have both had good years, and with a World Cup, both have the chance for an ­outstanding one.

“Yet so far, Salah has matched them, no doubt. He’s probably got more chance of ­winning the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, ­because that is ­in part selected by ­international coaches. The Ballon d’Or votes are by journalists.

“Even if you put what Mo has done at Liverpool to one side, he’s been astonishing. He has gone from being an ­exciting, quality player, to a truly world-class one for Jurgen Klopp.”

Fowler went on to make the point that Salah has put Egypt “back on the map” after scoring two goals to take the African nation to the World Cup finals for only the third time in their history.

“For what he has achieved in terms of promoting ­African football as a whole, he deserves to be in contention,” Fowler continued.

It’s hard to disagree with any of that.

Furthermore, Salah has scored more goals than Messi this season and only one fewer than Ronaldo.

“I’d compare him to Luis Suarez, in that when he arrived, yes he missed chances. Scored plenty but missed more. Now, he doesn’t seem to miss any. That’s all about ­confidence and ­belief in yourself,” Fowler added.

“People questioned his fee, for someone who was dumped by ­Chelsea. Perhaps that made him anxious, snatching at chances? The fee doesn’t seem so much now, does it?

“Remember his goal against Porto, where he flicked it up then volleyed it in? The truly great strikers can slow things down to read what will happen around them. See all the angles quicker, better than anyone else.

“It’s a gift. And a very rare one. So why shouldn’t he be named in the same golden breath as Ronaldo and Messi for this season?”

There’s still a long way to go before the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner is decided, of course, but Salah is certainly right up there alongside football’s two extra-terrestrials as things stand.