Gary Neville has lauded Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah following the Egyptian international’s hat-trick in the 4-3 victory against Leeds United on Saturday.
Salah, 28, netted twice from the penalty spot and volleyed a thunderbolt into the top corner to inspire Liverpool to an opening day victory during the English champions’ inaugural fixture of their Premier League title defence.
Once again, it showcased that Salah will be Liverpool’s main man as far as goals are concerned this time around and he’s already hit the front in the chase for a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Salah’s latest Liverpool hat-trick also ensured he became only the fourth player in club history to do so in the first game of a league season – and the first since John Aldridge in 1988.
The Liverpool man has clocked up a remarkable 94 goals during three extraordinary seasons at Anfield and Neville has tipped Salah to emulate the success of some of of the Premier League’s all-time greats.
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“We know he’s some player,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“But when he’s getting to a level whereby four years ago, when he first arrived at Liverpool, he got 40 goals and we thought that’s a freak, he won’t be able to live with that. Then he consistently produces over a period of two or three years.”
Salah set the English top-flight ablaze during his debut season with Liverpool in 2017/18, scoring 44 times across all competitions to help the Reds reach their first Champions League final since 2007.
He then followed his sensational excursions from his opening campaign at Anfield with 27 goals across all competitions in the following season as Liverpool enjoyed their sixth European triumph in 2019 which also saw Salah score a crucial penalty during the 2-0 victory against Tottenham in the Madrid final.
The 2019/20 season then saw Salah register 23 goals as Liverpool won their 19th league championship in record-breaking fashion – clocking up 99 points to win the Premier League with eight matches still to spare.
Salah has been the pivotal figure in the world’s most feared forward trident alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and Neville has compared Liverpool’s potent attacking force to the brilliance of his United team-mates Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
“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.
“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.”
“He looks different. He looks mean, he looks hungry, he looks strong. His game is more mature.”
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