As the gripping battles for title glory and Champions League qualification reach their exciting conclusions this week, so too does the race for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Mo Salah has been unsurprisingly instrumental to Liverpool’s push for an unprecedented quadruple under Jurgen Klopp and currently leads the top scorer charts after notching 22 goals in 34 top-flight appearances so far this season.
However, a groin issue that forced him off in the first half of the FA Cup Final victory over Chelsea at Wembley means the Egyptian will not play in Tuesday’s key clash with Southampton as the Reds try to take the title fight to the last day.
While Klopp is hopeful that Salah – whose last Premier League goals came in mid-April – will return in the season finale against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, he will not want to take too many risks with the Champions League Final against Real Madrid looming large in Paris on May 28.
Salah’s injury strife could work in the favour of Heung-min Son, however, with the Tottenham star his closest challenger for Golden Boot honours.
With four goals in his last five matches, including important efforts against Liverpool and north London rivals Arsenal, the consistent South Korean is just one strike behind Salah before the final round of fixtures.
And with Tottenham travelling to basement club Norwich on the final day, Son could hardly ask for better opponents as he looks to keep the Golden Boot in Spurs hands following Harry Kane’s triumph last term.
The battle now looks to be a two-horse race between Salah and Son, but don’t completely discount a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is three off the lead with only one game to play, but he’s certainly no stranger to a stylish hat trick – though Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park is a tough last assignment for a Manchester United team in woeful form.
Behind Ronaldo is Kane on 16, while Manchester City talisman, Kevin De Bruyne is tied with Liverpool rivals Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane on 15 apiece, followed by Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha.
Salah will no doubt want to avoid a potential repeat of 2018/19, when he was forced to share the Golden Boot with teammate Mane and former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.