Leaving the likes of Barcelona hit-man Luis Suarez, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres and Liverpool legend Ian Rush in your wake is no easy task, but in bagging the winner in a 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth on Sunday, Reds attacker Mohamed Salah did just that — scoring his 20th goal of the season in only 26-appearances for the Anfield outfit.
“I do not go to bed at night, thinking: ‘Wow, how good is Salah?’” mused Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, knowing full well what a massive signing the Egyptian has been, but refusing to single him out for the kind of individual praise the media absolutely begs for. “He is a very important player for us,” continued the German manager, before dryly adding, “like all of the others.”
Maybe that’s Klopp cottoning on to the under-stated English humour and maybe that’s the gaffer — who happens to know a thing or two about man management — knowing that the loads of pressure that comes along with performing at the highest level week in and week out is compounded when you’re built up to be knocked down.
Video courtesy of RONALDO 9TV
With that being said, he’s climbed to quite a lofty height. The first Liverpool player to 20-goals before Christmas Day since Rush did it all the way back in the 1986-87 season, the Egyptian has found the net fourteen times in the Premier League and added a further six in cup competitions. No matter how much Klopp plays down expectations, they’ll remain high for the Egyptian and while Salah himself remains as humble as ever, he’s sure to use the added pressure as a motivator to keep doing it for a club he’s admitted he fell in love with a long time ago.
“There was interest from Liverpool when I went to Chelsea, but I think if I’d come at that time maybe things wouldn’t have maybe have gone as well then as they have for me now. Who knows?” said the winger, waxing rhetorical. “It was while I was at Chelsea that I first got to play at Anfield. I can remember I told myself – as I said on my very first day here – ‘I have to come here one day and play’ after I’d experienced that atmosphere,” explained Salah, flashing that trademark smile. “That atmosphere was unbelievable, really. I was very happy to play here against Liverpool – and now I am even happier to play for Liverpool here.”