As Liverpool’s title tilt appears to run out of steam, star striker Mohamed Salah’s bid to win the Premier League Golden Boot race is also losing momentum.
The Egyptian has netted 22 goals for the Reds this term but is now only one clear of Tottenham forward Heung-Min Son.
Is it a given that Salah takes home the accolade again this month? We assess the runners and riders.
Egyptian king eyeing crown
The smart money is still on Salah to continue to lead the charts and take home his third Golden Boot in just five seasons at Liverpool.
He started the campaign in prolific form and netted 10 goals in his opening nine games, including a hat-trick at Manchester United.
The Reds’ No11 netted braces in the 6-0 win against Leeds and the 4-0 thumping of United on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, but has not found the target in any of his last four appearances.
Despite his downturn in form, Salah remains bullish about his abilities: “If you compare me with any player in my position, not only in my team but in the world, you will find that I am the best.
“I always focus on my work and do my best and my numbers are the best proof of my words.”
Son has brought himself back into the conversation with a brace in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Leicester and additional strikes against Liverpool and Arsenal.
The South Korean will need to continue his fruitful partnership with Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski if he is to stay in contention.
Two goals further back on 18 strikes is Cristiano Ronaldo. Recent hat-tricks against Spurs and Norwich had just about kept the Portuguese icon in the running but a blank in the 4-0 loss at Brighton ended his realistic hopes.
Liverpool have often had two players in the race for the Golden Boot in recent seasons and Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane have once again enjoyed impressive goal returns.
With a tally of 15, Jota continues to look like one of the smartest Premier League buys of the past decade.
Having notched the same tally as his Anfield team-mate, Mane has reached double figures once again and is on course for another respectable goal record this term.
Kevin De Bruyne meanwhile catapulted himself up the scoring charts with a stunning four-goal haul at Wolves, to take him also up to the 15 mark.
He sits level with Kane, who netted a brace in the North London derby to move up to joint-fourth in this esteemed list.
Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha are both on 13 apiece — though the duo have left it too late to catch Salah.
Even beyond the plethora of names already mentioned, plenty of players are finding the net regularly.
Ivan Toney and Jamie Vardy both have a dozen goals to their names, while fleet-footed creative midfielders Mason Mount, Riyad Mahrez and Bukayo Saka continue to cause defences problems.
But Salah’s position at the top of the goalscoring chart remains unchallenged for now and that is why the Anfield hero is set to win this race once again.