[Watford 0 – 5 Liverpool]

All front three scored. Bobby got perhaps the easiest hat-trick in history. Jon Moss similarly had perhaps the easiest game in his refereeing career. Watford looked miserable in the face of a truly irresistible Reds squad that was probably also out for revenge. The game was never in question.

Good. Now that we’re done with that, all I want to talk about today is the man who mixed the poor Hornets up so bad, they ended up looking like the culinary item which name is so conveniently appropriate.

Mo Salah may be King, but after today, he is also Caesar.

Let’s start with the foundation.

The Lettuce

When a chef with Salah’s talent is on the top of his game, even the simplest of moves becomes sublime. Every little dink, every single drop of the shoulder, every clever little pass, they all come together to create the perfect bed of green without which nothing tastes right in the end. That level of routine confidence is what makes the end result so special. Today it came across in every little move, and paralleled – I daresay, perhaps even exceeded – his own performance theater three years back, in that explosive first season.

The Croutons

That is not to say that he didn’t get deliciously crunchy at times. Hell, what Mo Salah did today to Danny Rose was patently unfair. I kinda felt for Rose, who was not in the best of minds coming into the game, and then ended up having to deal with a master mixer who was feeling inspired. Were I to award ratings, Rose would get a “1” and Salah an easy “10”, but honestly, it didn’t even seem like they shared a bowl, sorry, football pitch.

That assist to Mane? For one thing, once he made Rose look like a fool, how long did Mo have to come up with the idea for it? This was not a simple pass, my friends. He would not have made it with his right foot, not so perfectly that all Mane had to do was not miss (which he most emphatically did not). Instead, it was the outside of his left foot, curling just right, putting it into Mane’s path with the perfect speed and spike for Mane to bite on and enjoy the pop. Kevin De Bruyne would be proud.

And like a great chef doing remarkable things seemingly without noticing, Salah didn’t even seem to think it was special.

The Sauce

And then that goal. Talk about mixing it up! I couldn’t even see what he did over there with that series of moves, and then even with slow motion video, it took my brain some time to process the entire sequence. Now imagine yourself being on defense trying to stop this genius from whatever it is he is trying to do in real time. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, the replays show you exactly what happened to the Watford players.

It really does seem impossible. Just like it did with the City defense a couple of weeks ago. In this mood, the ball becomes Salah’s instrument, the chef’s tongs who mixes things so quickly at the table that you can’t really follow, no matter how intently you stare, and all that’s left for you is to “oooh” and “aaah” in wonderment and satisfaction.


Which brings us to the topper, the final flourish, which has to fresh and perfect and where too much can bring the whole thing down, and too little can make it a disappointing miss. When done right, it makes the whole thing into a masterpiece of simple elegance, just like the player who is not only ripping you to shreds but still has the presence of mind, humility, and grace to console you after doing so, and to congratulate you (or rather, Ben Foster) on the rare moment or two that you overcome the panic and manage to stop him.

Yes, Liverpool as a team played very well today, but it was all in service to the master.

Oooh, Salah. Aaah.