Africans Abroad: Mohamed Salah embellishes Liverpool legend status

The real Mo Salah shows up for Liverpool vs. West Ham (1:30)

Steve Nicol says Mohamed Salah "hadn't been able to control a bag of cement" prior to his two-goal performance vs. West Ham. (1:30)

Mohamed Salah extended his Liverpool legacy in some style with a sensational double as they dispatched West Ham United 3-1 last weekend, while young Nigerian Terem Moffi made a name for himself as Lorient stunned Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain.

Salah's legendary status at Liverpool was already secure before the weekend, but he added to his long list of Anfield achievements when he netted twice in the Reds' victory over the Hammers on Sunday.

The Egyptian's performance will rank prominently among his outstanding showings since returning to England, as Liverpool shook off their recent struggles and reasserted themselves as title contenders.

Gone was the timidity and nervy body language that had characterised some of their recent performances, even if Sadio Mane sat this one out due to injury.

Salah opened the scoring in the 57th minute, latching onto a lay-off from substitute Curtis Jones, waiting for an opening, and slamming the ball home in some style.

His second was a goal of the season contender, as he capped a breathtaking six-touch team move, replete with moments of inspiration from Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Xherdan Shaqiri, to dink a delicious effort beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

It was a moment of genuine excellence both from a Liverpool team that had begun to be written off, and their North African talisman.

The goals took Salah's tally for the season to 21 in 32 matches, ensuring he becomes the first Reds player since Ian Rush in the mid-1980s to score 20 goals or more in four consecutive seasons for the Merseysiders.

It was an emphatic way to end his six-game goalless run, reaffirm his own Golden Boot credentials, and extend his sublime record against the Hammers; he's now scored nine goals against the Irons, more than against any other Premier League team.

"Four consecutive seasons of scoring 20-plus goals for Mohamed Salah," Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter. "Fabulous footballer."

"Two outstanding goals," Jurgen Klopp said on Sky Sports. "I'm not surprised with Mo. I work on a daily basis with him and he will always have a massive desire to score goals. He's a world-class player, there's no doubt about that. In the past couple of weeks when we didn't score that many, the only thing you can do when you're not scoring is to keep trying to make better decisions.We didn't force it. He scored top-class goals."

The only blemish on a fine weekend for Liverpool was the news that injury-prone centre-back Joel Matip will be out for the rest of the season; the reigning champions' deadline-day spending on defensive reinforcements casts doubt about the rest of his Reds career.

Despite Tottenham Hotspur's dispiriting 1-0 defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday evening, Jose Mourinho didn't appear to regret his decision to drop disgraced Serge Aurier.

The Ivory Coast right-back is understood to be in the bad books after reportedly storming out of the stadium at halftime after his substitution in Spurs' 3-1 defeat by Liverpool in midweek.

"It was a technical decision, and I'm happy with the decision because Moussa [Sissoko] played very well, Mourinho said after the match."

Despite rumours that Aurier's behaviour would bring his time in London to a premature end, the West African remains at the club at least until the summer.

- Transfer window: Grading every big signing from Europe's top clubs
- Marcotti: Could Messi's contract controversy help Barca?

Also in North London, Thomas Partey still appears well short of his best form after an anonymous showing in Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Manchester United at the weekend.

The former Atletico Madrid powerhouse was a star performer in the Gunners' 1-0 victory over the Red Devils in November but was out of sorts this time around, registering just one tackle and missing the target with his sole effort on goal.

"Not my best game but I'm happy to make 90 minutes and also continue with our Premier League unbeaten run," Partey wrote on Instagram.

Roy Keane, speaking in the Sky Sports studio, offered uncharacteristic optimism when assessing the midfielder's prospects at the Emirates Stadium.

"He came in on transfer deadline day, so he never got quite up to speed, so it wasn't a surprise that he got injured," Keane said. "He's going to be a big player for Arsenal over the next few years.

"His track record... he's used to playing in the biggest games, we know the important role in the middle of the park for Arsenal, they've lacked the physical presence. I've got no doubt that if he stays fit -- which we'll probably see more of next season -- then he'll be a big player for Arsenal."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was still absent for Arsenal as he continues to tend for his ill mother.

In France, Paris Saint-Germain manager Pochettino suffered an early setback as the UEFA Champions League finalists were stunned 3-2 at Lorient.

It was a giant-killing born in Africa.

The reigning Ligue 1 champions led 2-1 with 10 minutes to play after Neymar's double had cancelled out Laurent Abergel's opener.

Congolese attacker Yoane Wissa equalised in the 80th minute, darting through the PSG midfield, playing a one-two on the edge of the area, before placing a left-footed effort into the roof of the net.

Nigerian substitute Moffi, enjoying the best form of his career, sealed all three points when he caught PSG -- pressing forward to secure a winner -- by surprise on the counterattack in the first minute of stoppage time.

It was a beautiful moment and the continuation of a remarkable run from the 21-year-old, who has scored in each of his past five games -- a run stretching back to December 23.

An €8 million signing from Belgian club KV Kortrijk in September, Moffi didn't score in his first nine Lorient games but things finally clicked in December and he's proved unplayable since then.

With PSG dropping points, title rivals Lille and Lyon capitalised with wins over Dijon and Bordeaux respectively.

For Lyon, Karl Toko Ekambi opened the scoring in a 2-1 victory, with Nigeria's Samuel Kalu scoring later for Les Girondins.

Gael Kakuta, Farid Boulaya and Lassana Coulibaly all scored goals in victories for their sides this weekend.


Are Bayern Munich the new frontrunners for Dayot Upamecano?

The ESPN FC panel talk Bayern Munich positioning themselves to sign RB Leipzig's Upamecano in the summer.

In Germany, Emmanuel Dennis' Bundesliga career got off to a winning start as his new employers, FC Cologne, defeated Arminia Bielefeld 3-1 at home.

Dennis, who was signed from Club Brugge on January 25, started the match and featured for 82 minutes before being withdrawn.

The Nigerian will be desperate for his football to do the talking after a testing first half to the season at Brugge, where he failed to score in nine Jupiler League outings.

The nadir was an incident ahead of their UEFA Champions League meeting with Borussia Dortmund, when Dennis reportedly stormed off the team bus after being denied his regular seat ahead of the trip to Germany.

It appeared to be a worrying act of petulance from the striker, who must take advantage of this switch to Germany to get his career back on track.

In Italy and Spain, two of Africa's in-form stars continued to impress this weekend.

On Saturday, Franck Kessie netted AC Milan's winner -- from the penalty spot -- as they defeated Bologna 2-1 away from home to bounce back to winning ways after their recent thumping by Atalanta.

The goal was Kessie's seventh in the league this season, equalling his career-best tally from the 2018-19 season, and he continues to establish himself as the talisman of the title hopefuls.

Achraf Hakimi excelled for fellow contenders Internazionale in their 4-0 victory over Benevento, while Jeremie Boga netted a 94th-minute equaliser as Sassuolo took a point at embattled Cagliari.

Despite being linked with a move to West Ham United during the transfer window, Youssef En-Nesyri remains at Seville, where he will look to end the season on a high note.

He's no longer La Liga's top scorer after recent goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, but he impressed again as the Andalusians dispatched Eibar 2-0 away.