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Mohamed Salah celebration for Liverpool against Newcastle explained


When you find the net as frequently as Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s “goal-scoring machine” in the words of manager Jurgen Klopp, there are plenty of opportunities to experiment with different celebrations.

The self-confessed “yoga man” would balance on one leg in the tree pose for a time, took inspiration from his daughter when plugging his nose after opening the scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2019 Champions League final and has knelt with his head gently resting on the grass throughout his career.

During a wild 4-2 victory over Newcastle United on Monday night, Salah unveiled a new celebration with an intriguing subplot.

On a remarkably profligate night for the entire Liverpool team, Salah squandered an opportunity to show off his new move in the first half. Martin Dubravka beat away Salah’s 22nd-minute spot kick which was fired firmly but unfortunately straight at Newcastle’s goalkeeper.

Salah located his shooting boots during the interval with a half-time shoe swap and duly tapped Liverpool into a deserved lead within five minutes of the restart. While Anfield roared in relief as the home team’s 19th shot of the match finally found the back of the net, Salah coolly trotted across to the advertising hoardings in front of the Kop.

Coyly perched on the LED wall, Salah opened his arms and turned to his adoring public. After coolly slotting a second-half spot kick into the bottom corner to make it 4-2, Salah performed the same routine. The image was instantly iconic but also familiar.

Barely a week earlier, Mohammed Kudus sealed a 2-0 victory for West Ham United at home to Manchester United, pouncing upon Kobbie Mainoo’s slack touch and picking out the bottom corner with his theoretically weaker right foot.

Making the trek across the London Stadium’s much-maligned running track, Kudus took a seat on the advertising boards.

Mohammed Kudus

Mohammed Kudus striking a familiar pose for West Ham / Julian Finney/GettyImages

The former Ajax star has struck a rich vein of form for West Ham after being slowly eased into the squad by David Moyes. Kudus’ four Premier League goals across December can only be bettered by two players – Salah is not one of them – and each strike has been accompanied by his now trademark pose on the side of the pitch.

When quizzed on the significance of his seated celebration, Kudus couldn’t help but laugh. “Obviously when you get to a certain level and you do something people read deeper meanings into it. This does not mean anything,” the 23-year-old revealed. “I’m just taking a deep breath.”

While it’s entirely possible that added meaning is being transposed onto Salah’s celebration, the timing of a potential homage to Kudus is noteworthy.

Salah revealed his internal dialogue as Liverpool’s ding-dong with Newcastle was somehow still goalless at half-time: “Ok, are you going to leave for the national team with that performance? Not really.” A keenly celebrated brace proved to be the perfect sign-off for Salah before joining up with Egypt ahead of this month’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The beaten finalists at 2021 AFCON are again among the favourites to claim the continental crown. Salah’s Pharaohs begin their campaign against Mozambique before facing a Ghana team including, you guessed it, Kudus.

A minor injury has delayed Kudus’ arrival to Ghana’s setup but, unlike Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, the fleet-footed forward is part of Chris Hughton’s squad.

Salah and Kudus have crossed paths in five previous games, including twice this season. On each occasion, Salah’s Liverpool has been victorious, with the Egyptian scoring four goals. However, Kudus also found the net on his single start against Salah, levelling the score for Ajax in last season’s Champions League. Liverpool only snatched victory in that group-stage game courtesy of an 89th-minute winner after Kudus had been substituted.

If either player gets a goal when Egypt and Ghana meet on 18 January, watch out for the celebration.

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