African players in Europe: Salah back on goal trail
After bagging 44 goals for the Reds in all 2017/2018 competitions, the Egyptian has found defences far harder to breach this season, netting just four times so far.
Algerian Riyad Mahrez, who Salah succeeded as African Footballer of the Year, was among the scorers as defending champions Manchester City routed Burnley 5-0 to remain top of the table.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
After a difficult start following last season’s prolific campaign, Salah ended a four-match goal drought for Liverpool in fine style when he calmly latched on to Xherdan Shaqiri’s through ball and beat goalkeeper Jonas Lossl with a well-angled shot as the title-chasing Reds won 1-0 at Huddersfield.
RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)
The Algeria winger, City’s club-record signing, is looking increasingly assured at the Etihad and scored the fourth goal in the champions’ 5-0 rout of Burnley with a superb left-footed curling shot from just outside the area seven minutes from time.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
A frustrating match for the Ivory Coast striker at Goodison Park saw him earn a penalty when brought down by Seamus Coleman only for Luka Milivojevic’s spot-kick to be saved by Jordan Pickford in a match Everton went on to win 2-0.
CHEICK DOUKOURE/EMMANUEL BOATENG (Levante)
Ivorian Doukoure and Ghanaian Boateng helped Levante hold on for a 2-1 La Liga victory at European champions Real Madrid. They both came off the bench in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu as Levante struck their first away win over Real in 11 years. “Great win and good teamwork,” Boateng posted in an Instagram message.
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly told his board to sign Senegal star Koulibaly, who continues to thrive at the heart of Carlo Ancelotti’s central defence as he once again shone in the heat of the action as Napoli strode to a 3-0 win at Udinese. The 27-year-old has played in every Napoli league match this season and has been described as “the best defender in the world” by former Italian international Guglielmo Stendardo.
SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)
The Ivory Coast veteran was a threat in Hertha’s 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg with two clear second-half chances after Ondrej Duda’s early goal for Berlin was cancelled out by Robin Koch. Kalou’s second-half replacement, Palko Dardai, won a late penalty for Hertha, which was overturned after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted that he instigated the dive.
NICOLAS PEPE (Lille)
France-born Ivory Coast striker Pepe converted a first-half penalty to give second-place Lille an early lead en route to a 2-1 victory at lowly Dijon. It was his seventh Ligue 1 goal this season — two less than chart-topper Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.
LEBO MOTHIBA (Strasbourg)
Mothiba returned from Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duty with South Africa to increase the lead through an 84th-minute goal for seventwasace Strasbourg in a 2-1 home victory over strugglers Monaco, who were playing for the first time under new coach Thierry Henry.