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Mohamed Salah provided many of the Premier League season's brightest moments

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As the curtain falls on another nail-biting Premier League season, ESPN's Ed Dove picked out eight of the most memorable moments for the season that featured African stars.

Unsurprisingly, Mohamed Salah will feature prominently in this list as he comes off the back of a sensational campaign in the top flight.

Salah was named FWA Footballer of the Year, and after bagging 23 goals, shared the Golden Boot with Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung Min, even if his form may have dipped after the Africa Cup of Nations.

Having also registered the most assists in the division -- 13 -- Salah was unfortunate to miss out to Kevin De Bruyne for the Premier League Player of the Season award. Salah was only the fourth player in Premier League history to end the season atop both the goals and the assists charts.

Salah bamboozles Man United

Salah's best performance of the season, and indeed, one of the finest individual displays in the history of the Premier League, came at Old Trafford in October, as the forward bagged a hat-trick as Manchester United were eviscerated by their eternal rivals in their own backyard.

The 29-year-old became the first visiting player since Brazil legend Ronaldo in 2003 to score three goals at the Theatre of Dreams, with Salah putting United to the sword to extend his club-record scoring streak to 10 matches.

The performance also had broader historical significance for Salah, as it took him beyond Didier Drogba as the all-time leading African scorer in Premier League history.

Since 2015, Drogba has sat atop the continent's scoring charts with 104 goals -- amassed across two stints (and four Prem titles) with Chelsea -- but his long-standing record was matched and then surpassed by Salah during his early-season flurry.

The North African's season haul takes him up to 120 goals, putting him level with Steven Gerrard in 20th in the all-time PL scoring charts, and in February he registered his 160th goal involvement -- eclipsing Drogba's place at the top of this list as well. Impressively, Salah smashed the Ivorian great's record despite, at the time, having played in 72 matches fewer than the Ivorian icon.

Salah's wondergoals against City and Watford

During that remarkable goalscoring run between late August and the demolition of United in late October, Salah scored 14 goals in 10 matches during perhaps the most impressive streak from an African player in Europe.

The attacker and his lethal left foot were unplayable in late 2021, settling matches for Liverpool on a consistent basis, and demonstrating why he ought to be considered among the finest players on the planet.

In back-to-back matches against Manchester City and Watford in October -- a 2-2 draw and a 5-0 victory respectively -- the wideman scored similar and sensational solo efforts, either of which could have been celebrated as the Goal of the Season.

In both instances, Salah picked up the ball in the left channel, used his immense ball control to evade the close attentions of several defenders, before firing home with aplomb.

In the run up to the Nations Cup, Salah proved to be unplayable -- he had a hand in 28 goals in all competitions between late August and mid-December -- with his strikes against the Hornets and the Citizens the pick of the bunch.

Mane steps up against Man City

While Salah was Liverpool's star performer during the first half of the season, it was Sadio Mane who stepped up as his teammate's form has dipped in recent months.

Mane's greatest moments of the season so far came in international competition, with decisive contributions as Senegal won their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title and qualified for the World Cup [both at the expense of Salah's Egypt].

However, he also enjoyed some big moments for Liverpool as well -- notably against Benfica, Manchester United and Villarreal, in both legs of Liverpool's Champions League semifinal success.

One of his biggest contributions came against Manchester City, with Mane netting twice in the FA Cup victory, and registering the second-half equaliser in the 2-2 league draw between the pair as the Reds rode out the City storm to keep their quadruple hopes alive.

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Liverpool's supporting cast weighs in

While Mane and Salah take the lion's share of the plaudits, each of Liverpool's three other African player made big contributions during the campaign as the Reds kept their title ambitions alive until the final whistle of a long season.

Naby Keita scored the only goal of the game as Liverpool defeated Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park, while Ibrahima Konate's debut season in England was highlighted by the opening goals in both legs of the Champions League tie with Benfica, and the FA Cup victory over City.

Joel Matip reaffirmed his status as one of the finest centre-backs in the league during an outstanding season. Defensively, he was a flawless partner for Virgil van Dijk -- the highlight being a crucial intervention to deny Riyad Mahrez when Liverpool met Manchester City in a potential title-decider -- and had a hand in a goal in each of Liverpool's last three matches as they pushed City to the wire.

"He obviously [doesn't] get a lot of headlines," Jurgen Klopp told journalists when Matip was named Player of the Month in February. "He definitely is underrated. I don't like using the phrase underrated often, but he definitely is."

Dennis gives Watford hope

While not quite as impressive as Salah's own goalscoring run, Emmanuel Dennis's run in front of goal between late October and late December truly announced him to a Premier League audience and -- for a time at least -- gave Watford hope that they could beat the drop.

The Nigeria international arrived in England with something of a wayward reputation. He made unwanted headlines for throwing a tantrum after being denied his favoured seat in the Club Brugge team bus, but after adapting to the top flight, set about silencing critics.

He had a hand in three goals in the 5-2 rout of Everton and a sublime 4-1 thumping of Manchester United as autumn turned to winter, and still managed strikes against Leicester City, Chelsea, Brentford and West Ham United as 2021 drew to a close.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, they didn't win any of those matches, and as Dennis's form dipped in the New Year, top flight survival eventually got away from Watford. Don't expect Dennis to be away from the top flight for too long, however, with the Hammers understood to be making advances on the Super Eagle.

Cornet saves the day against Everton

Another African player who drops out of the Premier League following Burnley's relegation on Sunday, Maxwel Cornet certainly made an impression after signing from Olympique Lyonnais at the start of the campaign.

The wideman gave the Clarets hope with a series of massive interventions during the season -- think the equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Leeds United or the double in the 2-2 draw at Southampton -- and they'd surely have been relegated long before the final day if it hadn't been for the Ivorian.

While his miss from close-range against Norwich City in April was a miserable moment -- and surely proved costly -- his display against Everton four days beforehand, including a 12th-minute assist and an outstanding 85th-minute winner, gave Burnley belief that they could survive.

Too good for the Championship, Cornet, like Dennis, could well be a fine transfer window addition for the majority of Premier League sides.

Mahrez's moments of regret

Manchester City's fight back from 2-0 down away against West Ham United in their penultimate game of the season was one of the comebacks of the year, with Jack Grealish and Vladimir Coufal's own goal drawing Pep Guardiola's side level with 20 minutes to play.

When Craig Dawson fouled Gabriel Jesus six minutes from time, Riyad Mahrez stepped up for a penalty showdown with Lukasz Fabianski, and the opportunity to kill the title race before the final day.

The Algerian had converted all of his previous nine penalties for City -- stretching back to his infamous miss against Liverpool in October 2018 that almost proved costly for City -- but on this occasion he was denied by Fabianski and, deflated, City had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Mahrez had also failed from the spot during the AFCON earlier in the year, as Algeria tumbled out of the tournament against the Ivory Coast, but this misstep could have had even more costly consequences for the North African.

Ultimately, it led to one of the most memorable final days in Premier League history, as City even eclipsed their West Ham comeback with a remarkable salvation act against Aston Villa.

One suspects that few would have breathed a deeper sigh of relief than Mahrez when Ilkay Gundogan secured City's latest last-gasp come-from-behind triumph, with the North African ultimately being let off the hook for his miss against the Hammers.

It wasn't the first time this season that Mahrez had missed a big chance, miscalculating his effort and chipping harmlessly over Alisson's goal when City hosted Liverpool in the league last month. It was another missed opportunity for the ex-Leicester City man to put more distance between the title rivals.

They were the low points of an otherwise magnificent season for Mahrez, as he had a hand in 16 goals en route to equalling Drogba on four Premier League titles.

Zaha's stunner against Norwich City

Beyond Salah's magnificent double in October, Wilfried Zaha's strike against Norwich in February was the finest goal scored by an African player in the top flight this season.

Picking up the ball on the left flank, the Crystal Palace striker cut beyond the despairing Przemyslaw Placheta, and, without looking up, slammed home a curling right-footed effort from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net.

It was the sweetest of strikes, and while Zaha would later miss a penalty in the match, he ended the season in strong form -- including a late penalty against Arsenal in April and a winner against former club Manchester United on the last day of the season.