Race to 10 goals: Salah leads the way but can the Egyptian keep up his fine form?

Mohamed Salah’s five goals this season puts him joint-first in the race to 10 goals, but can Liverpool’s star winger keep his foot firmly to the pedal?

After netting in Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Brentford last Saturday, Mohamed Salah is already halfway to reaching 10 goals. However, he faces fierce competition in the race to 10 from West Ham's Michail Antonio and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, who are both also on five.

The Egyptian started the season strongly with a goal against Norwich, before adding to his tally against Chelsea, Leeds United and Crystal Palace.

However, with some tough games on the horizon, could Salah fall behind in the race to 10 goals?

Here at Planet Sport, we're assessing the Egyptian's chances, including a detailed look at his fixtures, past records and potential distractions.

Fixtures

Manchester City (H)

Jurgen Klopp's men next face a vital clash against reigning champions Manchester City, needing a win to convince critics they are genuine title contenders.

After losing 2-0 to PSG in midweek, City will be keen to bounce back, but Pep Guardiola's side will have to overcome Anfield's intinidating atmosphere to do so.

However, City did manage to better Liverpool on their last visit to Anfield, albeit with no fans in attendance, leaving with all the points courtesy of a 4-1 win.

Salah's record against City does make for good reading, though - he has scored in three of his last four appearances against them in the league.

Additionally, with Roberto Firmino returning midweek against Porto and chipping in with a brace, Liverpool's famed front, three rounded off by Sadio Mane, are back fit and firing.

But, while Salah has a good record against the Citizens, Guardiola's side have been impeccable defensively so far this season, only conceding one goal against Tottenham on the opening day of the season.

With five consecutive clean sheets under their belt in the league, Salah may find it tougher than usual to penetrate City's defence, and will struggle to build on his goal tally at the weekend.

Watford (A)

Following the Manchester City clash, Liverpool's stars will jet off for the international break before returning to league action with a visit to Vicarage Road.

Many highlighted the Hornets as relegation fodder towards the start of the season, but Xisco Munoz' side have been surprise dark horses and sit comfortably in 12th.

Ismaila Sarr has shone and is competing with Salah in the scoring charts with four strikes of his own. However, Watford's defence haven't fared as well on their return to the top flight.

They have conceded nine goals, making them the joint-seventh worst defence in the league. It's not an awful position to be in for a newly promoted side, but they have failed to register a clean sheet this season, so a Liverpool goal seems certain.

Additionally, Salah boasts a good record against Watford, having scored his first Premier League hat-trick against them back in 2018.

The Egyptian winger ended that game with four goals to his name and, in total, he has scored eight against them.

Man Utd (A)

Liverpool then travel to Old Trafford to face their arch-rivals Manchester United and Salah hasn't found it so easy against the Red Devils.

He has netted twice against them in the Premier League, with both his strikes coming in the final minute of the game. His first was in a 2-0 win at Anfield in 2020, before he scored the last in a 4-2 win at Old Trafford in May.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking to lead a title charge this season, but his star-studded team have struggled at home this season, losing to both Aston Villa and West Ham.

Furthermore, United have conceded five goals this season - more than any other side in the top four - so Salah will be licking his lips at the chance to not only add to his tally, but to sink a title rival in the process.

Brighton (A)

On paper, Liverpool's trip to Brighton looks like one-way traffic, but the Seagulls have surpassed all expectations and sit sixth in the table.

Graham Potter's side have finally found their way to goal after frustratingly missing a number of chances last season. Even more impressively, they have remained solid at the back.

Despite losing Ben White to Arsenal in the summer, Brighton have retained their five-at-the-back system and don't seem to be missing their former star.

The trio of Dan Burn, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy form the heart of Brighton's defence, and their athleticism and physicality has kept many Premier League attacks at bay.

However, they'll have their work cut out for them when they face Liverpool's fearsome trio, and Salah's record against Brighton only stacks the odds in his favour.

Since his arrival in Merseyside in 2017, Salah has netted five times against Brighton in the league, including a brace last season at the Amex Stadium. We don't expect him to leave without having a say when the sides meet in October.

West Ham (A)

Another side that have had a storming start to the season, West Ham sit seventh in the table, with the seemingly unstoppable Michail Antonio spearheading the side.

Antonio's five goals place him level with Salah in the race to 10 goals, and if both continue in their current run of form then their clash in early November could well be a shootout to hit the milestone.

However, while West Ham will line up against a rigid defence featuring the colossal Virgil van Dijk, Salah faces a defence that has already conceded eight goals this season.

Additionally, the Hammers have Europa League fixtures to worry about, and are scheduled to face Genk away from home just three days before their Liverpool clash.

Fatigue and jet-lag could well hinder West Ham's hopes, and Salah could draw closer to his target of 10 goals, or potentially even reach it during the clash against the Hammers.

Champions League distractions?

But, West Ham aren't the only side that need to split their attention with European duties. In fact, Liverpool will be relying on Salah and co. to help them progress from their Champions League group.

Jurgen Klopp's side sit top of Group B after back-to-back wins over Porto and AC Milan, but with Atletico Madrid up next, there's no time for Salah to rest.

Their first clash against the Spanish champions is wedged between their games against Watford and Manchester United, and with the two sides going head-to-head for the top spot of Group B, it's hard to believe that Salah will be rested.

Therefore, with other responsibilities, Salah may struggle to keep up his startling form. Liverpool will be hoping their talisman comes out the other side of this busy run with no injuries.

Liverpool also face Atletico Madrid on November 3, just days before their trip to the London Stadium and fatigue could slow down his progress. But if all goes well in Europe, Liverpool would have secured their passage to the round of 16 and could finally rest their stars in order to focus domestically.

So, while we optimistically suggested that Salah's fixtures are favourable enough to see him reach 10 league goals at West Ham, realistically we'll be waiting until Liverpool's Champions League group is wrapped up before he kicks on in the league.

Will he be rotated?

As previously mentioned, Liverpool can't solely set their sights on the Premier League, with European duties occupying Klopp's mind too.

Therefore, could Salah be rotated in the squad for Premier League fixtures? Well, we just can't see it.

The Egyptian has been pivotal for Liverpool since his arrival in 2017, and has hardly had a matchday off since. When fit, Salah is the first name on Klopp's team sheet, and even during his poor run of form last season he only missed out once in the starting line-up.

So, while it may push Salah harder than ever physically, it's good news for those banking on the 29-year-old being the first to reach 10 goals.

Liverpool's lack of depth in the attacking department means Klopp can ill-afford to rotate his main star, especially with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United on the horizon.

Providing he stays fit, we don't see any reason why Salah will dip out of the starting line-up for the foreseeable future, meaning he has a free run at reaching 10 goals.

Race-to-10 contenders

Jamie Vardy (5) - 9/2

Cristiano Ronaldo (3) - 5/1

Romelu Lukaku (3) - 5/1

Michail Antonio (5) - 11/2

Bruno Fernandes (4) - 7/1

Ismaila Sarr (4) - 11/1

READ MORE: Nuno’s odds to leave Tottenham tumble after derby defeat

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