Anyone who followed Mohamed Salah's progress at club and international level could see that he needed to improve but responded excellently to managers or head coaches who believed in improving players. He generally responds to the demands made of him, clearly plays with everything he's got, and thankfully possesses "intelligence to absorb guidance from a trainer and implement those changes" as described in our scouting report.
In an excellent and insightful piece by Chris Bascombe for the Daily Telegraph, Diaa El Sayed (Egypt’s Under 20 coach in 2011) and Bob Bradley (Egypt national team manager 2011 to 2013) revealed their experiences and thoughts on Liverpool's first major signing of the summer. El Sayed told of how Salah cried six years ago despite Egypt's Under-20 team beating hosts South Africa at the 2011 African Youth Championships. The teenager turned despair at missing many chances to work on shooting with El Sayed the very next day.
The 25-year-old had a stunning season with 15 goals and 11 assists across 2487 minutes for the AS Roma in Serie A last season. All in open play for a goal or an assist every 95.65 minutes. A total of 19 goals and 12 assists as an attacking support player in one of Europe's top five leagues is fearsome; this figure, however, is an improvement on a successful 2015/16 that prompted the Giallorossi to buy him permanently from Chelsea. Again, improvement.
Bradley spoke of the "explosiveness" and capacity to learn that has brought Salah to Liverpool where Jürgen Klopp will utilise and nurture the talents of the Egypt international. The rationale in football among clubs and fans is to resort to transfers as the sole means to attain improvement, but Klopp has previously underlined his steadfast commitment to training players.
"When I went to Egypt my assistant and right hand man, Diaa, had told me about the young players he had just taken the team to Colombia for the Under 20 World Cup," Bradley said. "After the Port Said massacre, the league had been stopped and players were not being paid. There was a lot of turmoil. So we started to hold some camps and organise friendly matches so we could look closely at the players. It gave us a chance to look at some of the youngsters Diaa thought so highly of. Salah was among them.
"Salah played for Arab Contractors in Cairo at that time. When I first saw him play for his club you could see his ability to get away from defenders, but in a young team the results were not there. In the camp you saw his explosiveness. His speed and power was at the highest level. He also wanted to learn. You knew this was a special talent.
“The big player for us was Mohamed Aboutrika. Salah looked up to him as a player and a man. You could tell he wanted to learn from and do things the right way. When he made the move to Basel he matured, learned English and grew a player and person. What you see with Salah is someone who always wants to keep getting better.”
Salah has the right mentality and personality to excel at a team where there seems to be genuine togetherness fostered by Klopp. As for his abilities, Bradley was clear in his belief that the former Chelsea player "is a great fit" for the way Klopp wants to play and attack teams. A counter pressing 4-3-3 or 4-D-2, which appear to be Klopp's plan A and plan B formations, will be far more threatening with speed.
Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mané, and Roberto Firmino formed a formidable front three; Mané, however, is the only player in that group with coruscating speed to break defensive lines and haunt opponents. In a system where goals are spread around with arguably the league's most rounded striker who can create, dribble, tackle, make interceptions, harry, lead the press, run and run some more, and score.
Finishing is the area where Firmino can improve; in a system where pace and goals are requisite to exploit the talents of Liverpool's Brazilian duo, the two most expensive Africans in football to date, however, address the need for speed.
"With the 4-3-3 system Klopp likes Salah is a great fit,” said Bradley. "He can play from the outside in and set up chances, or he can play as a striker or a false nine.
"He is fast and gets behind the defence, makes good runs and is dynamic. No defender is happy coming up against him. When you have this kind of speed he creates a lot of chances for himself and others.
"For anyone who goes to the stadium he is exciting and a joy to watch."
Apart from opposition defenders, of course.