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Player focus: Harry Kane vs. Mohamed Salah

Player focus: Harry Kane vs. Mohamed Salah

The traditionally free-scoring pair played peripheral roles as Liverpool beat Tottenham at Wembley.

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Last Updated: Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 15:04 UK

Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot rivals Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah went head to head as Tottenham took on Liverpool in Saturday’s early kick-off at Wembley.

Salah’s Reds were the ones celebrating at full-time thanks to goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino and here, Press Association Sport assesses Salah and Kane’s personal impact.

Goal threat

Harry Kane barely had a sniff of goal (Adam Davy/PA)

After a quiet start for both men, Salah had the first sight of goal when he ran onto Eric Dier’s woeful back-pass and took the ball on his trusty left foot but shot straight at keeper Michel Vorm. He was not involved in either goal but went in search of a third for his side in the closing stages, with one shot blocked and another deflected harmlessly to Vorm.

Kane’s first half-chance was snuffed out by Trent Alexander-Arnold and it was almost an hour before he seriously threatened – and even then, Kieran Trippier’s cross was too far in front of him and he was then unable to divert Christian Eriksen’s effort goalwards with an instinctive backheel.

Kane averaged almost five shots per game last season but had had only 10 in his first four games this season – 14 players began the day ahead of him in that classification, with Fulham’s Andre Schurrle managing 11 in one game against Burnley. The England captain added only two unthreatening efforts to his tally on a frustrating day.

Link-up play

Mohamed Salah, left, takes on Jan Vertonghen
Mohamed Salah, left, takes on Jan Vertonghen (Adam Davy/PA)

Kane was often to be found in deeper positions, but to little effect – he was coasting along outside the penalty area as Lucas Moura tried in vain to reach one Eriksen cross, and gave the ball away with a long crossfield pass from the left-back position intended for Trippier.

Salah was more involved, with fine passes creating chances for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, but he saw his strike partners kept at bay on those occasions by Michel Vorm and his centre-backs.

Overall impact

According to statistics website WhoScored.com, Kane had the fewest touches in the first half with 11 while Salah managed only one more, level with Lucas on 12.

Salah was increasingly involved as the game wore on, though for little personal reward as others took the spotlight.

Kane, if anything, drifted further out of the action to give credence to the week’s speculation, led by television pundit Gary Neville, over his mental and physical condition. Mauricio Pochettino and his team will need more from their talisman if they are to challenge among the league’s leading clubs.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum in action during his side's Premier League clash with West Ham United on August 13, 2018

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