The biggest stars on the grandest of stages; that’s how it should be. Liverpool come into their second consecutive Champions League final on Saturday boasting some of the leading lights in the game, including PFA Player of the Year Virgil Van Dijk, joint Premier League Golden Boot winners Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah and Golden Glove winner Alisson Becker.
In a few short years, manager Jürgen Klopp has transformed Liverpool FC from an afterthought to a global powerhouse, elevating the exceptional talent he’s assembled to the top of their game. After “only” banging in 26 goals in all competitions this season following an astounding 44 goals last campaign, Salah is one who has seen his profile skyrocket since joining the Reds in the summer of 2017.
It is astonishing rise that has seen the 26-year-old cement himself among the best in the game today, even when judged by his peers. And what better peer than the peerless Ronaldo. No, not that Ronaldo. The real Ronaldo.
“[Lionel] Messi, of course, he is number one,” the Brazilian legend said recently in an interview with Spanish news outlet AS when asked about the players he enjoys watching. “It is a talent that we will take 20 or 30 years to see something similar.”
After Messi however, the 42-year-old also included Liverpool’s talisman amongst the five other players he enjoys the most:
“I also like [Mohamed] Salah, [Chelsea’s Eden] Hazard, [PSG’s] Neymar, that I love watching him play, of course, [PSG’s Kylian] Mbappe,” he added.
The Egyptian King has a chance to add to his global standing in the game by leading Liverpool in lifting their sixth European trophy when they take on Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday.
Ronaldo at least, seems to like our chances.