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Salah can pass Messi and be best in world – Klopp
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 18 - 03 - 2018

LIVERPOOL, March 18, 2018 (News agencies) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes comparisons between Mohamed Salah and Barcelona's five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi are premature, but that the Egyptian is on hiway to one day becoming the best player in the world.
Salah's stunning season continued with a four-goal haul in a 5-0 thrashing of Watford at Anfield to take his tally for the season to 36 - the most goals ever scored by a Liverpool player in their debut year at the club.
The Egypt international is now in pole position to finish as the Premier League's top scorer, with his four goals taking him four clear of Harry Kane who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Salah became the first Egyptian to score a super hat-trick in the Premier League and the first player to score a hat-trick under Klopp management.
Also, Salah is now the outright top goal scorer in Europe's Top 5 Leagues this season with 28 goals scored. The 25-year-old has now scored the most goals (37) in a debut season for Liverpool across all competitions. The second is Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres with 33 goals and the third is Barcelona's Luis Suarez with 31 goals.
Messi showed why he is still widely considered the world's best by scoring his 100th Champions League goal in tearing Chelsea apart in a 3-0 win on Wednesday.
But Klopp believes Salah, 25, has time on his side to succeed Messi and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, both now in their thirties, as the world's best player.
"I think Mo is on the way (to being the best in the world)," said Klopp.
"I don't think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi. He is the one who is doing what he's doing for what feels like 20 years or so."
And Klopp challenged Salah to maintain the standards he has set this season in the manner Messi and Ronaldo have for the past decade.
"As it always is in life, if you have the skills, you have to show that constantly, and consistently he is very good and he helps us a lot."
Salah even defied the slippery conditions of a snow storm as he weaved his way past Jose Holebas to slot home the opener after just four minutes.
"Conditions were difficult. It was obviously slippery and everybody suffered, but not Mo in that situation. It was really special," added Klopp.
Liverpool had to wait until two minutes before half-time to double their advantage, but there was no surprise who was on the end of a sweeping team move as Salah got his second of the evening from Andy Robertson's inch-perfect cross.
Watford have now lost nine and drawn one of their last 10 away games. And manager Javi Gracia admitted his side had been completely outclassed.
"We know we play against one of the best teams in Europe at this moment and they were much better than us," said the Spaniard.
"We need to compete with the best 11 we can and it was not the best performance for us."
Salah turned provider immediately after the break when his cross was wonderfully backheeled past Karnezis by Roberto Firmino.
The Egyptian made it 4-0 with 13 minutes remaining as, despite falling over, he managed to slide the ball past Karnezis.
And he then capped off a brilliant personal performance in the dying seconds, thrashing into the roof of the net after Karnezis had fumbled Danny Ings' shot.
It was a wonderful day at Anfield as Liverpool managed to put five past Watford, but none were able to contribute more than the Premier League's top scorer.
"I have to thank everyone but mainly my team-mates, without them I couldn't reach this number," Mo Salah told BT Sport, as reported by BBC Sport.
"Each game we try to win the three points, but every game I want to score and help the team. But tonight the most important thing is three points."
While it's always great to hear how this season's key player feels about his own majestic performances, he was keen to bring the focus back to the team, adding that "we showed a good reaction after the last game. We had a good result and clean sheet - that's most important."
Andy Robertson was also keen to praise the man of the match. After providing an excellent assist for the Egyptian, Liverpool's Scottish left back stated that Mo Salah "keeps on scoring, and what he's doing this season is phenomenal". Robertson was also pleased with the general performance, adding that it was "massive for us to get a clean sheet".
Mo Salah has been a clear revelation this season, smashing expectations based around a relatively low transfer fee (at least in the incredibly inflated post-Neymar reality) and an unfair "Chelsea reject" tag.
While the inevitable talk of whether Liverpool can fend off the richer clubs is surely to come, there's no question that we can all enjoy his form right now.
Liverpool defender Joe Gomez felt unable to find the suitable superlatives to describe Salah's latest exhibition of goalscoring genius. In doing so, Salah surpassed Fernando Torres for the most prolific debut campaign in club history – with a minimum of nine matches still remaining this season.
Even with a closer view than most of the No.11's exploits, Gomez admitted it is a struggle to adequately summarise the forward's influence in this Reds team.
"I think it's indescribable. The goals he brings are invaluable and he's just so good to play with," the defender told after the final whistle. "He complements the team so well, and Bobby and Sadio, they deserve all the credit as well.
"It's a pleasure to play with him, especially behind him on that side feeding him the ball – and he does what he does. He's special to watch and I think we enjoy it on the pitch as much as everyone else does."
Salah was quick to credit his teammates' contribution to his personal form following the four-goal haul, the first of its kind for Liverpool since Luis Suarez's quartet against Norwich City in December 2013.
The 25-year-old's humble nature underpins his quality, according to Gomez. "We have quite a good relationship off the pitch, with our squad numbers we sit next to each other. He's just a positive person and a great guy to be around, he's always smiley and happy," he said.
"That shows on the pitch, he just enjoys his football and just gets on the ball and enjoys doing what he does. It's a pleasure to be around and a breath of fresh air."
Roberto Firmino was the other scorer on a snowy night in L4, with his 23rd strike of the season – created by Salah – setting a new best for the Brazilian in a single campaign in his career.
The duo and Sadio Mane have now struck 73 goals between them this term. "They all complement each other so well. [That] front three, anyone in the world would fear them," insisted Gomez.
"They all show their quality in so many different ways and just the fact that [Salah] has so many assists as well shows that he's bringing more than just his goals. The whole team has got so much quality and depth – it's a great side."
The England international made his first Premier League start since the win at Huddersfield Town in late January, helping to secure a clean sheet against the Hornets.
And he lifted the lid on the level of determination within the side to respond after the defeat against Manchester United at the first opportunity.
"We knew immediately after the game at Old Trafford [that] we were disappointed and we had to bounce back," added Gomez.
"That attitude has shown throughout the week and we were all eager to make it right. It showed that everyone was up for it, as we always are, but everyone wanted to bounce back in the best way possible."

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