For a professional football player, short of winning the World Cup for your country there is no greater prize in the game than the Champions League. The toughest team trophy to win, the pinnacle of European football, the ultimate reward in club competition.
For Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, it’s even more than that this season. His first final was with the Reds against Real Madrid in 2018, and that game saw him injured in the first half and only able to watch as his side was defeated. He won it a year later, but against Tottenham. Now, four years later, he and his teammates face Madrid again.
“I’m very motivated, motivated through the roof,” Salah said. “I think after what happened with Madrid last time, and also what happened on Sunday, everybody is motivated to win the Champions League, this unbelievable trophy.”
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was quick to play down any talk of revenge as a motivating factor heading into Saturday’s match, but despite all the success in the years since their last final meeting against Madrid it’s clear Salah has a desire to right what he feels was a wrong four years ago.
Having missed out on the Premier League title for the second time in recent seasons by a single, solitary point to Manchester City is also an additional motivator—a chance to end the season by winning the trophy every player in Europe wants more than any other.
“I think every season we fight for it since I came here,” Salah added of the final to come, the third Champions League final he will play in to end his fifth season as a Red. “Everybody is excited for it.”