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Mo Salah Is Probably The World's Best Player In His Position... But What Position Is That?

Mo Salah is one of just 32 players to have scored more than 100 Premier League goals but is the Liverpool ace a winger or a forward?

The lines have become blurred in recent years.

Once upon a time, every team played a 4-4-2 system - four defenders, four midfielders, including two wingers, and two forwards.

But formations are much more varied and fluid now.

Salah has spent the vast majority of his Anfield career on the right side of Liverpool's attack - either in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3.

Mo Salah pictured lifting up his Golden Boot award after scoring the joint-most goals in the 2021/22 EPL season

Mo Salah pictured lifting up his Golden Boot award after scoring the joint-most goals in the 2021/22 EPL season

The fact that he tends to operate predominantly in wide positions makes his prolific goalscoring all the more impressive, according to Jordan Chamberlain.

Liverpool fan and journalist Chamberlain recently tweeted Salah's heatmap from the 2021/22 Premier League season.

Chamberlain accompanied the graphic with the words: "Mo Salah one PL Golden Boot from levelling Thierry Henry's record of four.

"And this is his heatmap from last season. He's a winger - no doubt.

"One day everyone will realise how special what he's achieved is."

Salah shared the 2021/22 Golden Boot with another player who might be described as a winger or a forward, depending on who you ask.

Tottenham's Son Heung-min also scored 23 EPL goals last season, despite spending much of his game time wide on the left.

Son Heung-min's Premier League heatmap from the 2021/22 season

Son Heung-min's Premier League heatmap from the 2021/22 season

Salah and Son's heatmaps look very different to Cristiano Ronaldo's.

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Ronaldo came third in the Golden Boot race last season with 18 EPL goals.

Ronaldo is without doubt a forward these days... even though he began his career as an old-school winger.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Premier League heatmap from the 2021/22 season

Cristiano Ronaldo's Premier League heatmap from the 2021/22 season

Wingers are not what they used to be. A winger was once responsible for suppling crosses for a central striker, while also providing defensive cover in wide areas.

Perhaps it is the second point that should be used to determine how a player is now categorized. Perhaps the question should be: 'Is Salah a midfielder or a forward?'

Those who play the Premier League's fantasy football game will be very aware that Salah and Son are both classed as midfielders.

Indeed their heat-maps illustrate that both do their fair share of work in deeper areas.

But Salah's primary role in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team is to score goals.

The fact that he does this from a wider starting point is notable but not wholly unique. After all, Lionel Messi spent much of the past decade and a half breaking records from a similar area.

Lionel Messi (left) and Mo Salah (center) pictured during a Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Liverpool in 2019

Salah plays in a similar position for Liverpool to where Lionel Messi operated for much of his Barcelona career

It is in part a reflection of the way the game has evolved. By starting wide, players like Salah, Son and Messi can pick and choose when to attack central defensive territory, making them so difficult to mark.

That is not to say that what Salah does is easy.

He may not be quite as good as Messi was at his peak but Salah is probably the best player in the world in his position right now, whatever position that is.

Is he a winger? Is he a forward? Who cares. Salah is indeed very special and, having just turned 30, he is now at his peak.

So enjoy him.

READ MORE: Liverpool 2022/23 Season Preview: No Mane, No Problem As Reds Look Good For EPL Title