Mohamed Salah comes face-to-face with his former club on Saturday, as Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield.
Salah, of course, famously turned down the opportunity to move to Liverpool from Basel in 2014, opting instead to move to Chelsea in a £12m deal. However, his time at Stamford Bridge turned into something of a nightmare, with the Egyptian forward making just 19 appearances in all competitions before being shipped off to Fiorentina a year later.
His form in Italy, firstly in Florence and then with Roma, convinced Liverpool to part with a club-record £36.9m to finally bring the former Basel man to Mersey side – and so far he has flourished, scoring 14 goals in his first 19 games to become an instant Anfield hero.
Speaking to the media on Friday ahead of this weekend’s clash, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has given his take on why he feels Salah’s previous spell in England didn’t quite work out for him. The German did, however, refuse to blame ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho and put it down to Salah’s age at the time:
“Disappointing time? I really can’t get it. He was very young in a very strong team and it didn’t come through, that happens very often.
“Another player in a similar situation is Kevin De Bruyne, [who is] doing not too bad for [Manchester] City now. Obviously it was difficult in these times to come in the [Chelsea] team, they had already a fantastic offensive team.
“They were successful in this time so nobody was to be blame for that, for sure not Mo. He took the next chance, he went on loan to Fiorentina and then made the transfer to Roma and then came to Liverpool, that’s an interesting way.
“He improved a lot, for sure, especially physical-wise. He was already a very good player, how I said a few times I saw him for the first time at Basel – he was already quick! But that is long ago.
“If he would’ve played already better at Chelsea, we would not have him probably in this moment, so I’m happy about the situation.”
Salah will be looking to continue his tremendous early-season form in Saturday’s fixture, not least because a Liverpool win would bring them level on points with Antonio Conte’s side in the Premier League table.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football Podcast, we’re joined by Burton Albion defender Ryan Delaney to look back on a double-winning season with Cork City, and discuss our Premier Division Team of the Year as voted by you.