Mo Salah certainly seems to be the darling of the footy pundits at the moment. It seems that he can do no wrong. So what about claims of diving in Monday nights clash under the lights with Crystal Palace. Salah had a comparatively quiet evening, rarely threatening the goal, but he was involved in the two controversial moments on which the match turned.
The first was as the first half was drawing to a close and ex Liverpool player Sakho made a clumsy challenge. There was certainly contact but it was clearly minimal and the player went to the ground theatrically. In fact he seemed to make a second movement after the contact to ensure that it appeared that he had been taken down. In the modern game the mantra seems to be “if there is contact it’s a pen” and “if there’s contact the player is entitled to go down”. If this is the true criteria for penalty (rather than uninformed punditry) then yes this incident is a penalty. However that still takes us back to our original question – did Salah dive. It’s quite clear that although it may well have been a penalty, Salah was making the most of the situation and went to the floor with some theatrics.
The second turning point incident as palace were chasing the game was a typical Liverpool counter attack from a corner. Salah raced away chased by the speedy Wan-Bissaka. As he reached the area Salah seemed to mis-control and push the ball too far. At that very moment there was slight contact from the impressive Palace full back and again Salah, with arched back took a theatrical tumble. Was it a foul? Again on the criteria of was there contact? then yes. Did Salah make the most of it? Of course. Should it have been a red card? Maybe not, salah seemed to no longer have the ball under control and so this was not the denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity.