Is Mo Salah better with longer or shorter hair? (2024)

Mo Salah’s hair can range from unruly and unkempt to carefully coiffed. But which hairstyle does he play best with?

Mo Salah is one of football’s preeminent figures, a fixture on the wing for Liverpool during one of the club’s greatest-ever eras. His 2021-22 campaign was outstanding and further launched him into international stardom, but Salah’s on-field play wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye.

The Egyptian King has rocked a notoriously curly afro for years. While his legs move like a blur, his do bobs in rhythm, creating some of the more mesmerizing movements in the sport. But he doesn’t always keep it the same. Over the last few seasons, Salah has gone from a questionably-kempt mop that could be mistaken for a Bolognese to a tighter, slimmer cut with shorter sides and significantly less bounce, and a few lengths in between.

This phenomenon sparked a conversation in my household: has Salah performed better with longer or shorter hair?

Fortunately for you, I’m a writer with an internet connection who can spend the time necessary to scour YouTube highlights of all 51 games Salah appeared in for Liverpool last season. I looked at all competitions, skipped around in them until I found a close-up shot of his hair, recorded its relative length, then compared the contests against one another.

Now, let’s settle once and for all how long Salah should keep his hair.

Note: I did not attend any of these games, nor has Mo Salah ever allowed me the pleasure of measuring his hair. He doesn’t even update me on when he’s getting a fresh cut. This is based solely on my judgment of if his hair was on the longer or shorter side relative to how he generally wears it. That said, though I am not a scientist, this is science. And you have to respect that.

First, let’s recap Salah’s hair length throughout the year.

Salah sported longer hair in 16 of his 51 Liverpool appearances in 2021-22 while wearing a shorter style in the other 35 outings. His long-haired days were spent almost exclusively in 2021, with the Egyptian showcasing a hair-do with a mind of its own in 10 of the first 11 contests of the campaign. Only once in 2022 – a 2-2 draw away at Chelsea on Jan. 2 – did Salah allow his locks to reach a long length when he took the pitch.

Something must have happened during Salah’s time at AFCON early in the year that soured him on the big poof. Upon returning to Liverpool in February, Salah only wore his hair with the sides clearly shortened and the front and top maintained. By the time Salah walked onto the pitch for the Champions League Final against Real Madrid, the days of the untouched-forest vibes atop his head when Liverpool opened the year with a 3-0 trouncing of Norwich City were long gone.

With that in mind, let’s consult the data.

Is Mo Salah better with longer or shorter hair? (1)

Now, let’s draw some air-tight conclusions.

Air-tight conclusions

Jurgen Klopp prefers long-haired Salah

Every time Mo Salah showed up to a game with longer hair, his manager started him. But six times when he appeared with a more controlled style, he began the game on the bench.

What does this mean? Klopp is a fantastic man manager and knows how to get the best out of his players. He wants them to play with freedom and creativity. There is nothing freer than Mo Salah’s hair dancing in the wind while he sashays along the wing. You don’t get that same freedom when only a few strands around his forehead react to his movements.

If Salah wants to guarantee himself a start, he should keep his hair long.

Short-haired Salah means better results for Liverpool

If Salah is to play in a match, Liverpool is more likely to get the three points if his hair is shorter.

In the 16 games appearances Salah made with longer hair, the Reds didn’t quite eclipse two points per game. But in the 35 the Egyptian played in with shorter hair, Liverpool racked up an average of well over that two-point mark.

The air-tight conclusion is crystal clear: regardless of Klopp’s preferences, Liverpool fans should be excited every time they see Salah sport the shorter style.

But long-haired Salah produces more

Salah scored 13 goals and five assists in 16 long-haired appearances (0.81 goals per game, 0.31 assists per game). In short-haired appearances, the winger put up just 18 goals and 10 assists in 35 opportunities (0.51 goals per game, 0.29 assists per game). His xG was slightly better with longer hair, too.

So, long or short?

For reasons we’ll probably never understand, Liverpool did better as a team when Salah has shorter hair, but he played better individually when he had longer hair. Plus, Klopp clearly prefers the longer style.

Decision, decisions.

If Salah didn’t sign a three-year contract extension in July, I’d say that his best move would be to go to another club where his hair length doesn’t seem at such odds between his personal performance and team results. But Salah clearly doesn’t care about that, and the contradiction will continue in Merseyside.

I am merely the messenger. I cannot be the one to tell Mo Salah how to wear his hair. It is a matter of personal preference – does he want to score more goals, or does he want Liverpool to win? It’s not a simple question, but it’s one he must ask himself every time he considers a hair appointment.

Next. What fuels the fire in heralded soccer prodigy Mallory Pugh. dark

Is Mo Salah better with longer or shorter hair? (2024)

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