Football

Ex-Liverpool skipper Gerrard: Salah on the verge of greatness

Ex-Liverpool skipper Gerrard sees a new Anfield great in Salah

At the rate he's going, it's only a matter of time Mohamed Salah becomes an Anfield legend, said Liverpool great Steven Gerrard.

The Egyptian attacker scored four goals and set up one for teammate Roberto Firmino as the Reds sauntered to a 5-0 win over Watford yesterday morning (Singapore time).

His haul took him four goals clear of Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane in the English Premier League top-scorer's chart, and seven ahead of third-placed Sergio Aguero of Manchester City.

According to the BBC, his 36 goals for the club in all competitions are the most by a Liverpool player in a debut season. The record was previously held by Spaniard Fernando Torres, who mustered 33 during the 2007/08 season.

Only one African player, Didier Drogba, who scored 29 EPL goals for Chelsea in the 2009/10 campaign, has scored more goals in one term than Salah, whose current tally is 28.

Such phenomenal stats are why Gerrard paid a huge tribute to the flying forward.

The former skipper said on BT Sport: "It's difficult to find new words. Everyone's raving about him at the moment and rightly so.

"I think we're witnessing the start of greatness.

"If he's around for long enough, he's well capable of going on to achieve whatever he wants as a footballer.

"Yeah, of course, he will get judged in the long term or delivering trophies and stuff and so will the rest of the team. But his performance this season in a debut season has been magnificent."

Indeed, Salah has been so impressive that Liverpool manager was asked if he is now at the same level as five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

The German, though, insisted that his star man is not yet the finished article. He said: "I think Mo is on the way.

"I don't think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi - he is the one who has been doing what he's been doing for what feels like 20 years or so. The last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona...

"He gave us a good four goals. That's quite exceptional and another good performance.

"We had to cope and deal with difficult conditions tonight. It was slippery. Everybody suffered but not Mo in that situation.

"That is really special."

Even Salah's first goal had a touch of Messi to it.

A sudden change of direction in the penalty box took him clear of two defenders, including Miguel Britos who tied himself into a knot as he crashed to the ground, before Salah beat goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis at the near post.

According to BBC football pundit Martin Keown, the 25-year-old forward can only get better.

Said the former Arsenal centre back: "He is causing carnage for defenders - the way he runs with the ball is so calm, defenders are falling over in front of him.

"He will run for anything. He is strong. He is a constant threat and he gets better and better."

Salah, though, remains modest as ever, thanking his teammates for his wonderful start to life at Merseyside. Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "I have to thank everyone, but mainly my teammates, without them I couldn't reach this number."

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