Can Liverpool keep hold of Mo Salah?
After extending its lead at the top of the Premier League over the festive period, Liverpool will be looking to Thursday’s clash with Manchester City as a chance to take a big step towards winning a first domestic league title since 1990.
A Liverpool victory would move them nine points clear of Tottenham and extend their unbeaten league run to 21 games. Lose and City would close the gap on the Premier League leaders to four points.
One player who has been at the center of Liverpool’s rise under Jurgen Klopp has been Mo Salah. The Egyptian has found his scoring boots after a slow start to the season, bagging 13 goals in the last 16 games.
A Premier League title would add team honors to individual brilliance, and Salah’s fellow countryman Mido thinks recent form might see the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona come calling for the forward’s services.
“You never know in football. If Barcelona or Real Madrid come for you your head is going to flip — all the players are like that,” Mido, who played for a number of Premier League clubs in the 2000s as well as winning 51 caps for Egypt, told CNN Sport in an interview late last year.
“Barcelona and Real Madrid are different — no disrespect to Liverpool. I think Barcelona and Real Madrid were waiting to see how Salah would do this season — they don’t buy players after only one good or great season.
“I think if Salah scores 25 plus goals, I think they will come for him and it will be difficult for Liverpool to keep him.”
Salah enjoyed a stunning first season with Liverpool, winning the Premier League golden boot with 32 goals and taking the Reds to the Champions League final.
The 26-year-old’s recent form has seen him become a national treasure back home in Egypt.
“I think Salah is the greatest Egyptian player,” says Mido, who retired from football in 2013 and is now pursuing a career in management.
“If I judge all players, we had so many great players in the Egyptian history, we’ve had fantastic players who have done great for the country and for their own clubs back in Egypt as well.
“But football is in Europe. If a player can play at the top for 10, 12 years in Europe, I think he should be considered the best player in Egyptian history.”
While Premier League rivals Man City, Chelsea, and Tottenham — Mido’s former club — have all slipped up through the first half of the Premier League title race, Liverpool has hardly put a foot wrong with 17 wins from 20 games.
Salah and co. also have a highly-anticipated Champions League clash with Bayern Munich to look forward to in February — a tournament in which Jurgen Klopp’s side exceeded expectations last season.
Needless to say, Salah will need to keep firing on all cylinders if Liverpool wants to win silverware this season.
“I’m sure he’s going to score at least score 25 plus this season,” says Mido.
“He’s playing in a great club and he knows that he’s much appreciated by everyone around him. And a great manager, of course, who’s helping him off the pitch and on the pitch.”