Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah in the crosshairs as a confrontation of stars fighting

Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah In Spotlight As Struggling Stars Clash

Kane and Salah got the Premier League Golden Boot award until the last game of the season.

The Egyptian international, with 32 goals, outscored his England rival with the coveted prize despite Kane's first 30-league season.

Salah scored an incredible 44 goals in all competitions in his debut year with Liverpool, which earned him the Player of the Year awards from the Association of Professional Footballers and the Football Writers Association.

But Salah's season came to a bitter conclusion in the Champions League final when he suffered a shoulder injury after a cynical challenge from Real Madrid Sergio Ramos.

Leaving the pitch in tears, Salah's departure caused the defeat of Liverpool 3-1 and, finally, threw a cloud over his World Cup, where he lost the first game and could not prevent Egypt from falling into the group stage.

The 26-year-old returned to Merseyside to start the new campaign with a goal in the demolition of West Ham.

But while Salah has scored two goals in four games so far for Jurgen Klopp's high Liverpool, it has not been the effervescent figure who tormented his opponents last season.

The combination of the lethal ending and the carefree inspiration that he liked so much to see has been replaced by a more tenuous attitude that gives the impression that he has lost his mojo for the time being.

Replicating the high standards of 2017-18 would never be easy for Salah and, ironically, he was warned of the potential for a second-year fall from Kane last May.

"For me it's about doing it year after year, any player wants to do it steadily and that's what defines a good player of a great player," he said.

Kane and Salah have a respectful relationship, but their rivalry intensified when Salah questioned the decision to award Tottenham's second goal in the April 2-0 victory at Stoke against Kane, after initially being credited to Christian Eriksen.

Burnout

Kane may have been hurt by the perception that he was eagerly looking for individual praise, but, undeterred, the England captain finished as top scorer in the World Cup with six goals.

However, by his own admission, Kane was not at his best in Russia even though England ran to the semifinals and the hangover has continued in the new campaign.

The 25-year-old has just scored two goals in six games for the club and the country this season, and the statistics behind those numbers make reading even more disturbing.

Sky Sports statistics released this week show that Kane averaged 6.7 shots per 90 minutes by the end of August 2017, while currently averages 2.6 shots per game.

Amid fears that Kane is about to run out, England boss Gareth Southgate was forced to defend his decision to bring his captain as a substitute in the friendly 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday.

The damage to the ankle ligament suffered in early April, the fatigue after such a short break in the summer and the opponents taking special care to eliminate it have been discussed as reasons for Kane's problems.

"I'm worried about Harry Kane, since 2015, Kane has played 175 games, forget about the physical side, he also needs a mental break because he's fighting," England assistant coach Gary Neville told Sky Sports this week.

The fall of Salah has not prevented Liverpool from rising to the top of the Premier League after four consecutive victories, while Tottenham is only three points.

Even so, it would be a comforting vision for Reds manager Klopp and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino if his stars returned to the song this weekend.

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