Bagging his 40th goal of the season in all competitions in a routine 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, Mohamed Salah became the first Liverpool player to achieve that figure since Reds legend Ian Rush hit those heights during the 1986-1987 season.
His improvised header — on of the back of a beautiful cross from young full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold — brought his Premier League goal tally to a staggering 30 for the campaign and moved him five ahead of his closest chaser in Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane. The plaudits, including Champions League goal of the week, keep coming in for the 25-year old, but he’s not only staying grounded, he’s keeping his eyes on the big prize.
“If you had a choice between the Champions League and (individual honours like the golden boot) then of course the Champions League,” said Salah when asked about the string of individual honours up for grabs. “I have no doubt; (it’s) the Champions League,” added the Egyptian without a moment of hesitation. “To win the Champions League is huge for everyone. I don’t care about the rest.”
The man for the big occasion, the Egyptian found the back of the net in both legs as Liverpool swept aside Premier League champions Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League to not only knock out one of the tournament favourites, but set up a trip to his old stomping grounds in the final four.
Salah, of course, made the move to Merseyside from AS Roma during the summer for a fee that now looks like an absolute steal and he’ll be reminding them exactly what they’re missing when the two sides square off in the semi-finals — a place he’ll be welcomed back to with open arms.
“Salah? He is a fantastic player and still has a lot of friends among our current squad,” said Roma president James Pallotta, reflecting on the draw following their stalemate with cross-town rivals in the ever feisty Derby della Capitale . “It will not be like meeting a stranger, as we have good memories of him here.”