THE signing of Mohamed Salah will no doubt bring another dimension to Jürgen Klopp’s frontline next season.
While Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all enjoyed stellar seasons, the absence of at least one proved damaging to the team — particularly the loss of Mane’s pace.
And with Coutinho looking set for a deeper midfield role, Salah could bring the goals and intensity required to be a success at Liverpool.
But what else can he bring to Anfield and just how good can he be? We spoke to JOHN SOLANO, editor of Romapress.us, to gauge the reaction from Italy and RYAN DARBY, editor of Read Chelsea, to find out what went wrong for Salah at Stamford Bridge.
Roma: John Solano
How good do you believe Mohamed Salah is?
I think he’s a very talented player. He certainly has an abundance of skill and ability and it’s been put on full display at Roma.
Do you think he has the potential to reach another level?
I believe he is at or near his pinnacle in terms of ability, however, this is a pretty high level so I wouldn’t be too concerned.
What are his best attributes?
He’s certainly known for his pace but his ability to time his runs and evade defenders, particularly on the counter, is extraordinary.
What have been his best moments in a Roma shirt?
He’s had many but his hat-trick against Bologna this season is memorable. Salah also scored the opener against his former side, Fiorentina, after his controversial move to Roma.
Why do you think the club are prepared to sell?
Roma have to make nearly €30 million before 30 June, so Salah, along with Antonio Rudiger and Radja Nainggolan, have been the prime candidates to leave.
How do the Roma fans feel about his potential departure?
I think fans are a bit annoyed that another important player has to be sold, however, I think most fans would rather see Salah leave instead of Nainggolan.
Do you believe Salah would be able to adapt to the Premier League this time around?
I do fear that the physicality of the league may prove to be too much for Salah, but I hope not. His speed is lethal but when defenders get physical with him he tends to struggle. However, Salah has a skill set that should be transferable to any and every league, so hopefully he’s able to put this into practice at Liverpool.
Watch our new weekly round up show ‘The Wrap Up’ for Salah talk and more:
Chelsea: Ryan Darby
What did you make of Salah’s performances at Chelsea?
Salah’s move to Chelsea was probably one club too soon for him in terms of his personal development. He was a player that had completely dominated us in a European fixture against Basel. As Liverpool fans will know with Fernando Torres, it’s not uncommon for Chelsea to whip out the chequebook when a player does well against them.
He was only ever a back-up option at Chelsea, because in truth, that was all he was ready for. He was brought into the club as a rough diamond and his performances reflected that. He showed the odd glimpse of brilliance but for the most part he was largely inconsistent and off the back of that, he never got the trust of Jose Mourinho and there’s no way back from that.
What were his best moments?
Because he wasn’t with the club very long, there is not much to choose from in terms of his best moments. The one game that stands out is the 6-0 win over Arsenal at home. It was a romping victory and Salah got on the scoresheet late on to round it off. His goal came from a well-timed run that was matched with a calm finish.
What parts of his game did you think he could improve on?
Anyone who has watched Salah, be that from his days at Basel, Chelsea or even now with Roma, will say the same thing: his end product. It would be lazy to label him as a ‘speed merchant’, but it’s his final pass or cross that has let him down.
He has no trouble beating his man, his ball control and retention is very strong but delivering that pinpoint cross from either wing was the difference.
For the most part this has improved since he left Chelsea thanks to two strong spells in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma, but even now, I wouldn’t say he is the finished product.
Why do you think it went wrong for him?
It had to be his inconsistency. As a result of that Mourinho could never truly put his faith in him for the big games. He would always be one of the players called upon ‘to do a job’, so his Chelsea career was over before it really started.
What was the reaction like to his departure?
It was expected by most of the fans to be honest. Off the pitch it could have been handled better. He originally left the club to join Fiorentina on an 18-month loan deal when Chelsea signed Juan Cuadrado but then left La Viola at the end of the season to join Roma on loan before that became a permanent move.
Fiorentina sent complaints to FIFA back in 2015 about a breach of contract and the whole saga carried out for quite some time. Eventually in the summer of 2016, FIFA sided with Chelsea and the dispute came to an end. It was quite a messy and unnecessary situation for the club to be involved.
What do you make of his move to Liverpool?
I think for Liverpool he is a fantastic signing. He compliments the other midfielders well and fills a gap for the type of winger you do not really have, Sadio Mane aside.
Roma do run a tight ship, as Chelsea fans know after seeing the club try to sign Radja Nainggolan year after year, so I think the price tag will always be held against him.
He has come on leaps and bounds since his Chelsea days but there’s still a little more to come until we see the best of him, which can also be spun into a good thing for Liverpool fans I guess!
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