On Sunday, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah became the top-scoring African in Premier League history.
The Egyptian started the day level with Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba, who accumulated 104 goals over two spells with the London club before his eventual departure, for a second time, in 2015.
But as Salah became the first away player to score a Premier League hat-trick at Manchester United, in Liverpool’s stunning 5-0 win, so the 29-year-old not only broke Drogba’s record but went clear on 107 goals too.
Salah, who also has a previous affiliation with reigning European champions Chelsea, has become one of the Premier League’s most prolific forwards since joining Liverpool from Italians Roma in 2017.
Below, former Nigeria international Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who struck 95 Premier League goals, rates the merits of each player.
“If you can score goals in the Premier League, there’s nowhere in the world you can’t score goals,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
- Mohamed Salah – 107 goals
(Chelsea 2014-15, Liverpool 2017-present)
Mohamed Salah struck 32 league goals in his first season with Liverpool
|Mins per goal
Dubbed the ‘Egyptian King’ by Liverpool fans, Salah netted 19 goals as the Reds ended their 30-year wait for a domestic top-flight title last year.
The 29-year-old, a two-time BBC and Caf African footballer of the year, also opened the scoring as the Anfield side beat Spurs to win the Champions League in 2018-19.
In his four full seasons on Merseyside, Salah has not dipped below 15 league goals, a level of consistency which has swiftly lifted him up the African Premier League scoring chart.
He initially moved to England in January 2014, joining Chelsea from Basel, but only scored twice in 13 league outings for the Blues before two loan spells in Italy.
“He’s so clever – his movement is unbelievable,” Yakubu said. “He’s not a striker, so he can drop into the middle or wide [areas]. It’s all about movement: he knows where to go, where to place himself.
“Players like Salah are very rare in modern football, a proper rare breed and special player. Barcelona had Lionel Messi and Liverpool have Salah, they both make things happen for their respective clubs, they have that powerful effect.”
- Didier Drogba – 104 goals
(Chelsea 2004-12 and 2014-15)
Didier Drogba helped Chelsea to lift every major domestic trophy, and won the Premier League golden boot twice
|Mins per goal
Drogba’s goals helped Chelsea end a 50-year wait for a league title and re-establish themselves as one of England’s top clubs following Roman Abramovich’s takeover.
He won three league titles in his first spell, and a fourth following his return to Stamford Bridge.
Throw in an integral role in winning four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League in 2011-12, and Drogba is undoubtedly a modern-day legend in west London.
“If you cannot score goals in Chelsea, then the league is not for you,” Yakubu said.
“You’ve seen so many top strikers in Chelsea that struggled to score. It’s not like they’re not good players, but the Premier League is hard.”
- Sadio Mane – 100 goals
(Southampton 2014-16, Liverpool 2016-present)
Sadio Mane has 103 goals in all competitions for Liverpool
|Mins per goal
Senegal international Mane first shone at Southampton, netting 21 times – including the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history – in two seasons with the Saints in the top flight.
Since his switch to Liverpool in 2016, Mane has dovetailed with Salah to bring the Premier League, Champions League, European Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup trophies to Anfield.
Yakubu believes the reigning African Footballer of the Year makes the most of his explosive pace and quick thinking.
“Mane is quick,” he said. “He’s all about being in the right position and being smart. If you play against him, you can’t switch off.
“He is also very incisive in front of goal. Mane can spring up in the right place when you least expect. Both Salah and Mane have proven that African players can deliver at top clubs.”
‘I remain one of the top strikers from Africa’
Yakubu sits fifth on the list of all-time African goalscorers in the Premier League, just behind Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor’s 97 for Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace.
The Nigerian featured for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers over a nine-year period, and believes his record stacks up favourably considering his club’s comparatively lower standings.
“I’ll still remain one of the top strikers from Africa, no matter if those guys score more than 100 goals,” he said. “Don’t forget they played for some of the biggest clubs in England.
“To score 15, 17 goals in Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn is big as well. If you can get 15 goals in a season as a striker in England, it’s a great season for you.
25 of Yakubu’s 95 goals in the Premier League came for Everton
“For me, it’s an honour to score that many goals. I got injured and didn’t play for one year. If I had, I would’ve scored more than 100. I had chances to do it, but the time was right for me to leave, so I went to China.”
As for current players, Manchester City’s Algeria international Riyad Mahrez (68) and Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (68) are joint sixth on the list and still have some way to go to trouble the top five.