Salah form must strike fear in former club Roma

Egyptian winger equals record of most league goals in 38-game season with 31st strike against WBA


Afp April 22, 2018
Egyptian winger equals record of most league goals in 38-game season with 31st strike against WBA. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Roma know the threat posed by Mohamed Salah more than most having sold the free-scoring Egyptian to Liverpool for an initial £37 million just 10 months ago.

But that may not help the Italians much as they become the latest side to face the gauntlet of Anfield on a European night in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg as Salah has blossomed into a goalscoring machine very few saw coming at the start of the season.

It looks like an incredible bargain as Salah has netted 41 goals in 46 games to take Liverpool back to the last four of Europe's premier club competition for the first time in a decade.

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"It wasn't like a lot of other teams than Liverpool were banging down the door," Roma's American co-owner James Pallotta told the BBC's World Football programme. "I think today a lot of teams are kicking themselves in the head that they didn't take a closer look at him."

In a nomadic career since moving to Europe as a 19-year-old, Salah was known for his pace and dribbling ability in spells at Basel and Fiorentina either side of a short time at Chelsea before moving to Roma.

However, the capability he has shown time and again this season to keep a cool head in front of goal used to so often fail him.

"In Roma he was amazing. Every game he created a lot of chances, but sometimes missed," said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who suffered from Salah's new found confidence in front of goal as he scored in each leg of Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate thrashing of the Premier League champions in the quarter-finals.

Salah shows no sign of easing up

"This season I think the way Jurgen Klopp wants to play is perfect for him. I think Jurgen is a master to buy players with what he really needs for the way he wants to play."

Pallotta agrees that Klopp's system of a fluid front three also including Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is what has brought the best out of Salah, who had to feed off the target man figure of Edin Dzeko at Roma.

"He's obviously had an incredible year. I think the coach there has clearly figured out how best to utilise him, using him in a different position I would say to Roma because you've got Dzeko in the middle."

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