Is Mo Salah REALLY the best in the world? He is outperforming Messi and Ronaldo

Mo Salah was at his razor sharp, lethal best against Manchester City on Sunday and was labelled the best player in world football on current form, by Jamie Carragher. 

The Egyptian has been red hot from the first game of the season and remains Liverpool’s most dangerous attacking weapon. 

His solo goal against City in the 2-2 draw showed exactly what the winger is about, jinking his way past defenders as if they were mannequins before smashing the finish home. 

Mo Salah scored a sublime solo goal against Manchester City to continue his great form 

Jamie Carragher hailed Mohamed Salah as the best player in the world

The forward grabbed a goal and assist in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Manchester City

Jamie Carragher hailed Salah as the best player in the world after his stunning display

Carragher said: ‘I don’t think there’s anyone better in the world at this moment or in European football, I really don’t.

‘I’ve seen the Champions League, his record over the last few weeks has been outstanding.  

‘You can never question him too much for what he’s done at Liverpool. But right now is about as sharp as I’ve ever seen him.

‘I’ve spoken about it last few weeks he’s one of the greatest players to ever play for Liverpool. He goes in that right side of Liverpool’s all time XI. No doubt about it.’

But do the stats back up Carragher’s view on Salah being the best player in Europe right now? 

How does Salah measure up with the world’s best? 
All comps Salah Lewandowski Haaland Suarez Benzema Messi Ronaldo Lukaku
Minutes played 781 834 716 572 888 370 496 734
Goals 9 13 11 2 10 1 5 4
Assists 3 1 3 0 7 0 0 0
Mins/goal or assist 65 60 51 286 89 370 99 184
Shot conversion rate 25.7 28.3 26.8 16.7 23.8 7.7 20.8 16
xG 7.9 12.7 9.9 0.9 5.6 1.4 4.4 4.2
Chances created/90 2.5 1.8 1.4 0.3 2.4 1.9 1.3 1.8

Of course it is not an exact science to compare stats across different leagues as there remains a varying standard of opposition, but it is interesting to compare Salah with other elite level forwards. 

The two major summer transfers, Lionel Messi to PSG and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United have had contrasting fortunes so far. 

Messi is still finding his feet in Paris and only played 370 minutes so far, scoring a stunner against Manchester City in the Champions League but otherwise failing to register on the scoresheet or even provide an assist. 

The Argentine will no doubt boost those numbers as the season progresses but he trails his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano has scored five goals for Manchester United so far this season

Lionel Messi has just one strike to his name at his new club PSG

Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi (right) are not matching up to Mo Salah 

It has been an excellent scoring start for the Portuguese at Old Trafford with an average of just under a goal a game (every 99 minutes). 

He’s notched five times so far and one in five of his shots on goal end up in the back of the net. 

That said, he still trails Salah who has scored nine times in all competitions as well as delivering three assists. So how does the Egyptian compare with a couple of Bundesliga giants? 

Robert Lewandowski remains the world’s best striker with a staggering 13 goals already under Julian Nagelsmann. 

Robert Lewandowski has already scored a stunning 13 goals in all competitions this season

Robert Lewandowski has already scored a stunning 13 goals in all competitions this season

That’s an average of a goal or assist every hour of play, although he has benefitted from being in a dominant team with his expected goals up at 12.7. 

Erling Haaland’s minutes per goal or assist is even better, averaging a key contribution every 51 minutes having scored 11 times and provided three assists so far. 

The Borussia Dortmund striker, like Lewandowski, usurps Salah in the shot conversion rate and xG department. 

But where Salah is significantly ahead of both striker’s is in chances created per 90 minutes. 

He has shown a more selfless side to his game this season and creates 2.5 chances-a-match on average compared with Lewandowski’s 1.8 and Haaland’s 1.4. 

Erling Haaland's ratio of goals or assists per game is greater than his rivals this term

Erling Haaland’s ratio of goals or assists per game is greater than his rivals this term 

The only man who comes close to the Liverpool winger in this category is Real Madrid’s main man Karim Benzema. 

The Frenchman is at 2.4 chances created per 90 minutes but has more than double the assists of his rivals, with seven to his name as well as ten goals. 

He is outperforming his expected goals more than the other world class players on our list, netting almost twice as many as anticipated from the 5.6 xG.

Benzema has also played 888 minutes, that’s more than the other forwards and effectively a game more than Salah. 

And what of Romelu Lukaku? The Belgian started his return to Chelsea excellently with but has failed to score in his last five games. 

Even former Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte has had a jab at Thomas Tuchel, claiming the German does not know how to best deploy the striker. 

Karim Benzema has started the season superbly for Real Madrid with 17 goal contributions

Karim Benzema has started the season superbly for Real Madrid with 17 goal contributions

He said: ‘I don’t think Chelsea have quite figured out how to use him yet.

‘He is a very specific striker. Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick.

‘It is very difficult to find a player who is both a target man but can also run from midfield.’

His recent lack of output has seen Salah have the edge in every category. Lukaku is averaging a goal or assist every 184 minutes compared to Salah’s 65 minutes and the powerful forward is performing slightly below his expected goals too. 

Of course, there are other barometers to cold hard stats to persuade the likes of Carragher that Salah is the best player in Europe at the moment. 

He has faced tough opposition and is delivering incredible attacking output from the wing rather than a traditional centre forward. 

Salah's performances are even more remarkable given his position out wide rather than striker

Salah’s performances are even more remarkable given his position out wide rather than striker

Salah is chasing an improved Liverpool contract and his contract expires in 18 months. 

There’s no doubt he is giving the world’s best a run for their money and his current form will certainly not harm those negotiations for a fresh deal. 

If Liverpool go on to claim silverware this season, Salah is likely to be the driving force and perhaps deserves to be given the same kind of recognition as the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Lewandowski and the global elite.  

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