Mohamed Salah is capable of rivalling the best players in the world in the coming years, says Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville
Tuesday 15 September 2020 11:43, UK
Mohamed Salah has reached another level at Liverpool and could challenge the best players in the world in the next few seasons, according to Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.
Salah smashed a hat-trick against Leeds on Saturday as Liverpool kicked off their Premier League title defence with a 4-3 win at Anfield.
The goals took Salah's overall tally to 97 in 154 appearances since his arrival at Liverpool from Roma in the summer of 2016 and Neville feels the 28-year-old is going from strength to strength at Anfield.
"There was a point in the game where I was watching Salah and I just thought, that is some player," he said on Monday Night Football.
"Four years ago, when he first came to Liverpool and he got those 40-odd goals, I thought, 'That's a freak. He won't be able to live with that'.
"But then he consistently produces over a period of two or three years."
Salah is frequently compared to Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane, who has scored at a similarly-impressive rate during their time together at Anfield, but Neville believes the Egyptian's ruthless mentality will help him overtake his team-mate in the years ahead.
"You think about the mentality difference between Mane and Salah," Neville added. "Mane is likeable. I think the players probably love him, he gives his all every single day, he'll do the selfless thing for the team.
He looks mean, he looks hungry, he looks strong. His game is more mature
"Then you look at Salah over the other side. He doesn't pass sometimes to his team-mates. He's a little bit more selfish and a little bit less likeable because of that, probably to the fans and to his own team-mates.
"But then, I look at him as an outsider and I'm thinking that he is an absolute killer on the pitch.
"It reminds me of the twin tracking of [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Wayne] Rooney in the mid-2000s. That's where Mane and Salah are now.
"I think Salah will end up going above Mane, not because Mane's not a great player, he is a great player as Rooney was, but the reason players [like Salah or Ronaldo] are different is that they have something up here which means that they go home at night and being the best player in the world rocks their world, whereas a Rooney or a Mane, they feel that the team's got to win, I've got to give my all, I'll fight for my team-mates. Salah doesn't do that."
Neville believes Salah is a completely different player from the one who struggled to make an impact at Chelsea during his first stint in the Premier League as a youngster.
"He was frantic, he was weaker, he was making poor decisions, he was immature as you would expect from a young player who is developing," he said.
"But watching him on Saturday, it was almost like he was toying with the game, almost like he had the game in his hands.
"He looks different. He looks mean, he looks hungry, he looks strong. His game is more mature."
With Lionel Messi and his former Manchester United team-mate Ronaldo entering the twilight of their careers, Neville. sees no reason why Salah can't go on and establish himself as one of the world's best.
"[Kylian] Mbappe, he's fantastic. Neymar, he's a bit up and down a bit… Where is the best player in the world going to be in the next couple of years?
"Salah is not far away from it anyway, but to me on Saturday he looked like an absolutely different level."