With two goals and an assist against Manchester City in the two-legged Champions League quarter-final, Mohamed Salah was key to Liverpool advancing to the next round of Europe’s premier cup competition. But then that was hardly a surprise to anyone who’s watched the superstar at work this season.
Salah has been on scintillating form and talk of a the 25-year-old as Ballon d’Or contender is deserved, marking him out as an attacking superstar the likes of which Liverpool fans have rarely—if ever—had the privilege of watching in the Premier League era. Salah, though, says the impressed impressions aren’t a one-way street.
“There’s something very special about playing for Liverpool,” the attacker told CNN when the American news organisation interviewed him following the second leg victory over City as part of a special on the player, Mohamed Salah: Liverpool’s Egyptian King, that will air ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
“The Champions League nights are special for the fans too. The atmosphere in that first game against Man City was the first time I had really seen something like that. When we saw the draw, everyone knew it would be a difficult game. I knew it would be difficult, but I said we had to be positive and win.”
Liverpool were certainly positive, especially in the first half of that first leg, channelling the emotion of the Anfield crowd and staking themselves to an early 3-0 lead that gave City too high a hill to climb and gave the Reds some breathing room—space to breathe and the chance to recover from any momentary stumbles.
Salah had a hand in two of those goals. Then, he scored the leveller in the second leg to tie that game 1-1, giving Liverpool a crucial away goal and all but putting the tie to bed—and meaning he will now get the chance to experience an atmosphere like the one last week at Anfield at least once more this season.
And when he does, nobody should be the least surprised if he further adds to his tallies and helps to propel Liverpool on again, this time to the finals and with it a chance for the player to end up with one of the greatest ever single-season performances in the sport.