I’ve loved proving my doubters wrong, says Salah
LIVERPOOL forward Mo Salah admits he always had a drive to return to the Premier League to prove his critics wrong and now hopes the season will have a special end to it.
The Egypt international arrived from Roma last summer with many critics questioning his signing on the basis of 12 unsuccessful months at Chelsea three years previously.
However, having won the Premier League Golden Boot by setting a new record of 32 goals in a season, Salah silenced his doubters and hopes to sign off with victory in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday week.
“It was always on my mind to perform the best I can,” he said.
“I had two great seasons in Rome but it was always on my mind to come back to the Premier League to show the people who said I didn’t succeed here the first time and prove that I can be a success in the Premier League.”
Manager Jurgen Klopp’s influence — and his tactics — helped Salah hit the ground running and the 25-year-old recognises the input the German has had.
“You know, before everything we are friends. I like him a lot,” added the Egyptian, who is looking to add to his incredible 44 goals this season against Real Madrid.
“He has helped me a lot to do what I’m doing on the field and off it.
“I have to thank him for everything he has done this year. I really respect him a lot and I’m sure we are going to do something special for the club this year to end it.”
Defender Virgil van Dijk has urged the team to be brave against the Champions League holders.
“We need to be going to Kiev with a lot of confidence,” he explained.
“We know they have so much quality. But we don’t need to forgetthatwehavesomuchquality as well.
“We’re not there for no reason. We deserve to be there, so we need to show that, be brave and do our thing.”
Midfielder Emre Can’s chances of being fit for the Champions League final look remote as the back injury which has kept him out since March has cost him a place in Germany’s World Cup squad.
The 24-year-old could have played his last match for the club as his contract expires next month and speculation has continually linked him with a move away.
Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold is relishing the chance to cap his breakthrough season by going up against Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final.
While former Manchester United ace Ronaldo has been at the summit of the game for over a decade and is aiming to become a five-time European champion in Kiev, Alexander-Arnold’s first full season around the Liverpool first team is just approaching a thrilling conclusion.
The 19-year-old admits it will be a pleasure to share the field with a star he once watched online as a child but has no fear.
“With Ronaldo being one of the greats, probably one of the best players ever, it’s going to be an honour to hopefully play against him,” he said.
“You know a lot about him and the likes of (Lionel) Messi because you watch them on YouTube when you’re growing up, you always watch those type of players.
“I want to challenge myself and test myself against the best players in the world and there’s not many people better than the likes of Ronaldo.
“It will be a huge test for everyone and hopefully we come out on top.” Big chance: Mo Salah was hungry to return to the Premier League