Salah’s star shines
Is Liverpool striker the best in the game?
Published: Oct 21, 2021 05:18 PM
Mohamed Salah (above) of Liverpool evades a tackle from Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico Madrid on October 19 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: VCG

Mohamed Salah (above) of Liverpool evades a tackle from Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico Madrid on October 19 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: VCG

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is staking his claim as the best player in world football right now. After scoring another stunner against Watford in the English Premier League last weekend he bagged two goals to help the Reds to a 3-2 win away at Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.

The goals extended his impressive scoring run and a string of match-winning performances from the 29-year-old. One man who does not need convinced of Salah's standing is his Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

He was asked where Salah ranked by broadcasters BT Sport after the Watford win.

"Top," said Klopp. "Come on, we all see it, who's better than him at this moment?

"That's clear, there's always this discussion and all these kinds of things.

"But we don't have to talk about what [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi did for world football or how long they were really dominant, but at the moment I think it's clear there's nobody better than him.

"How it is, it's not only since yesterday, he's been in that shape for a while. He's young enough to keep the shape a little bit longer."

Klopp doubled down when he spoke to other media.

"He is for sure one of the best in the world right now," Klopp said of Salah. "It's not about me to say who is the best. But for me he is the best.

"I see him every day and that makes it maybe more easy for me. But there is [Robert] Lewandowski out there and people like that, Ronaldo still scoring like crazy, Messi still pulling out performances to a world-class level. And others will come. But in this moment, for sure he is on top of that list."

Klopp argued that the Egypt striker has been performing consistently since arriving at Anfield from Serie A side Roma.

"He is for a while on that level," said the Reds boss. "He improves, and is at an age where he can improve and is doing that constantly.

"You saw with the first goal he set up for Sadio [Mane] it was an outstanding pass, he brought that from the summer break because he's started doing those kind of things.

"The consistency he delivers, maybe people just now are starting to see it. But it was always there.

"He has played for us for five seasons now and it is absolutely incredible the way he performs since he was here.

"He has been in the top five in the world since he has been at Liverpool and now he is the best in this moment.

"The big thing with Messi and Ronaldo is nobody had a doubt about it for years. But Mo is at the top level for years as well and there's still a lot to come from him because of his desire. He just wants to perform at a top class level."

Salah's Liverpool teammates are not shocked by the form that the striker has shown in recent weeks.

"Of course, I think it is you guys who are surprised - but not me because we all know his quality," Mane said after the Watford win, in which he also scored.

"We know how he can move the ball, he showed it against Manchester City, which was another great goal, so for him to score goals like this is normal," the Senegal striker said, referencing the goal Salah scored against the champions earlier this season.

"It was a very wonderful goal and I am very happy for him."

Former Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers striker Chris Sutton is also a fan of Salah.

"He's better than Lionel Messi. Better than Cristiano Ronaldo. Better than Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland and whoever else you want to counter with," Sutton wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"They're world-class players, all of them, but Salah is playing out of this world at the moment.

"Where we see Premier League defenders, Salah sees those little orange cones that you use on the training field. He dances around them and scores - as we saw against Manchester City before the international break and as we saw against Watford.

"Not only that, he is doing all of this in the most difficult league in the world, which should be taken into account when deciding who is the world's best."

Liverpool fans have delighted in Salah's form over the years but the fear is that they will not enjoy him for much longer as their star striker is yet to sign a new contract.

The view among Reds fans is to pay him whatever it costs to keep him at Anfield, which is the view of player turned pundit Danny Mills.

"He's a fantastic player, he's worth it," former England international right-back [Danny] Mills told Football Insider.

There have been reports that a new deal could be worth up to 82 million pounds.

"If that's the going rate, that's the going rate. If they were to lose Mo Salah how much does it cost to replace him?

"You've got to get a transfer in of 60 million pounds, 70 million pounds then you've got to give them 150,000, 200,000 pounds a week.

"You've got to look at the whole package. There are the bonuses and signing-on fees too.

"It may well put a few noses out of joint but if you're the manager or the sporting director and says something to you, you can say, 'Hang on, he's better than you and a lot better than you. He's worth 100 million pounds so come back when you're worth near that.'

"Just because he's in the team and doing the same job, every business in the land has directors on different salaries because they do different jobs and perform differently."

Salah is performing differently right now.

His penalty at the Wanda Metropolitano secured the three points in the Champions League in midweek and established him as Liverpool's top scorer in the competition, his 31 taking him past Steven Gerrard. It also means that Salah becomes the first Liverpool player to score in nine consecutive games for the club.

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