Mohamed Salah is on the brink of setting a new Premier League record.
Liverpool’s ‘Egyptian King’ needs just one more goal to reach 32 for the season and push himself ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suarez, who all scored 31 goals in a 38-game season.
Sure, prolific goalscorers are great, but what about teams who do well without one?
Time for a quick history lesson about teams who finished in the top half without a Proper Goalscorer™ — specifically, a leading scorer who bagged ten or fewer goals…
In 2005/06, Liverpool finished third in the league despite the fact their top scorer barely hit double figures.
Steven Gerrard bagged ten goals as Dijibril Cisse, Peter Crouch and Luis Garcia all fell short of the mark for various reasons…
Fulham somehow managed to qualify for Europe despite the fact none of their players scored more than SEVEN goals in 2008/09.
Clint Dempsey and Andy Johnson were joint underwhelming top scorers for the Cottagers that season.
Southampton came close to something similar just last year.
Nathan Redmond top scored with eight goals as the Saints finished eighth.
No wonder they’re in trouble this season…
It should come as no surprise that Sam Allardyce’s Bolton side of the mid-noughties did well without a notable goal-grabber.
In 2004/05, the long-ball merchants finished sixth with the uber *popular* El-Hadji Diouf finishing as their top scorer in the league with just the nine goals.
Damien Duff led the charge for Blackburn with nine goals as they qualified for Europe in sixth in 2002/03.
West Ham went one place better in 1998/99, finishing in fifth with Ian Wright settling for nine league goals over the course of the campaign.
The season Liverpool did a madness in Istanbul to win the Champions League, they famously finished behind neighbours Everton in the league.
With Rafa Bentitez’s men expending all their energy in Europe, Milan Baros coasted to nine league goals with none of his team-mates able to match his modest tally.
Spurs (1996/97) and Crystal Palace (2014/15) both scraped into the top half by virtue of Teddy Sheringham and Glenn Murray’s respective seven-goal hauls.
Everton showed excellent team spirit to finish fifth in 2008/09.
Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini scored eight league goals each to top the club’s charts.
But Louis Saha, Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta and Jo all scored at least five to ensure an even workload.
And finally, the unusual quirk of Chelsea’s 2007/08 season.
Avram Grant replaced Jose Mourinho in September and the dramatic switch effectively broke football.
The Blues finished second in the league, just two points behind champions Man United, even with a top scorer with just ten goals to his name.
Frank Lampard missed a significant portion of the season through injury and so had to settle for just the ten league goals, a touch below par for him.
Somehow the Chelsea mounted a serious title challenge with nobody else stepping up to the role of primary onion bag botherer — we’re looking at you Andriy Shevchenko.
Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou shared the responsibility fairly evenly, to be fair.
Still though, runners-up with ten-goal top scorer…
- Remembering Roma’s perfect 3-5-2 that won Francesco Totti his only league title
- The story of Kostas Manolas’ first professional goal is pure Greek mythology
- Remembering when Mohamed Salah left Liverpool for Real Madrid in the summer of 2018