Mo Salah looked every bit the player in the same league as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo last night as he dismantled his old side Roma to within touching distance of the Champions League final.
Salah, like Messi and Ronaldo made it his mission to get his team to the showpiece final on May 26th. Providing two goals and two assists he stood tall in an excellent team performance just like the world class players he is constantly being compared too.
However it is far too early to put the Egyptian in that bracket. Yes he is continuing to break records, continuing to produce the most outrageous of finishes like the first goal we witnessed last night against the Italians.
He has also got the nod from his peers as the best in their league claiming the Player of the Year Award last Sunday night beating Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane all of whom were part of the outstanding Manchester City side who won the Premier League under Pep Guardiola, the same City who are currently 19 points ahead of Salah’s Liverpool, the same City who Salah helped eliminated in the quarter finals of Europe’s most prestigious competition.
Football is a strange game.
Liverpool signed the ex-Chelsea player from Roma for £36.9m, a deal that was labelled as “staggering” nearly a year ago by the same people who are now bowing at his feet.
The fee has transpired as a steal in today’s market and should the 25 year old move on from Anfield, Liverpool are in line for an extremely healthy profit.
Liverpool fans won’t like talk of Salah leaving but their best players always do, they need to break the trend to get more from the player but if the player continues to impress then the bigger clubs will come calling.
Nobody mentions the loss of Philippe Couthino, many in the media claimed it was a season defining decision to give into the Brazilian’s demands and let the player get his dream move to Barcelona.
It has turned out to be a defining decision but not in the way anybody, even Jurgen Klopp himself could have imagined.
While their former player collected the Copa del Rey on Sunday with his new club he has to be envious of his old teammates, perhaps wishing he had stayed on until the summer for his move.
Salah has gone above anything Coutinho ever did at Anfield and he now has to maintain that level of performance to reach the height of Messi or Ronaldo.
The pair have had an ongoing battle to be the best with nobody coming close to taking their crown or at least join the party. The Egyptian turns 26 in June and has time on his side to surpass the pair but at this moment in time he cannot be seen as being in that bracket. Not yet.
Salah now has a staggering 43 goals in 47 games for Liverpool and is likely to win the golden boot in the Premier League, despite the best efforts of Harry Kane.
However the term “world class” is overused in football today. The likes of George Best, Pele and Diego Maradona are hailed as world class, and rightly so. None of them however were given that honour after one exceptional season. Ronaldo and Messi the same, they had to continue to show their qualities over numerous seasons.
Klopp was quick to praise his outstanding talent but also pointed out the player has yet to reach that level.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period”
Salah is definitely on track to reaching that level and may go to the World Cup as a Champions League winner, but for now he needs to continue to let his football do the talking and that next step up may not be too far away.
Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena