LONDON, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool and Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah is helping to break down Islamophobia in his adopted home, according to the Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram.
The Egypt international had a huge impact on the field in his debut season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals as the team finished fourth in the Premier League and were Champions League runners-up.
But his influence was felt just as significantly off it as a high-profile Muslim, energising the local Arabic community and helping improve inclusivity.
“I think what Salah’s done is what John Barnes did for the black community in the ‘80s,” Rotheram told a BBC Radio 5 Live documentary Mo Salah: Football is Life.
“He’s starting to break down barriers. Some of them (Liverpool fans) probably don’t fully appreciate the songs they sing about Mo Salah but to have that breakdown of Islamophobia caused by one person is an absolutely phenomenal achievement.
“His legacy will be much more about what’s happened off the field as well as what’s happened on the pitch.”
Eleven-year-old Rawan Zadeh, the daughter of a British Iraqi, for example, was inspired to take up football, having never played before, because of the Egyptian.
“My daughter wasn’t a football fan but now she is a fan of Mohamed Salah and his team,” Rawan’s mum Malath Ali said.
“She has changed completely and started playing football as well at school as a result.
“I’ve always encouraged her to play any kind of sport, it doesn’t matter if you are wearing a (head) scarf, so now she likes to play football.
“I feel as if he has an influence on the kids.”
Zane Abdo, Muslim adviser and chaplain to the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, has seen how Salah has changed perceptions.
“It is like what Muhammad Ali did in the boxing world, albeit very different people, in terms of getting people to accept who he is and accept the name,” he told Press Association Sport.
“Mohamed Ali and Mohamed Salah – and Mo Farah – have all done that. It challenges a lot of the stereotypes.”
LONDON, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - German international midfielder Emre Can is to leave Liverpool now his contract has expired, the Premier League club confirmed.
The 24-year-old rejected the offer of a new contract from the beaten Champions League finalists some months ago amid speculation he would be moving to Italian giants Juventus.
His Anfield exit has now been confirmed, with academy graduate Jon Flanagan, who played for the club just once in the last two seasons, having had loan spells at nearby Burnley and Bolton, also among those on their way out.
“Everybody at Liverpool FC thanks all departing players for their contributions and wishes them the best of luck for the future,” said a club statement.
PARIS, May 29, 2018 (News Wires) - Monaco midfielder Fabinho will join Liverpool following the World Cup finals in Russia, the French Ligue 1 club and the Premier League giants announced.
Brazilian international Fabinho, 24, had agreed at the end of last year’s title-winning campaign to remain one more season in the Principality.
But agreement has now been reached with the Premier League club that will see Fabinho join the Reds after the finals in Russia.
No financial details were given by either club, although some reports claim the deal is worth £44 million.
“AS Monaco has reached agreement with Liverpool for the transfer of Fabinho to the English club on July 1,” said a statement on www.asmonaco.com.
Usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, Fabinho has scored 31 goals in 233 appearances for Monaco since arriving at the club in 2013 from Real Madrid, winning the French league title in 2017.
Liverpool, looking to bolster their squad following a great season in which the Anfield giants reached the Champions League final, only to suffer a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, confirmed the deal on their website.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm a deal has been agreed for the transfer of Fabinho from AS Monaco,” said a statement.
KIEV, Ukraine, May 27, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum admits Liverpool were rocked by the loss of Mohamed Salah in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
The Reds were in control for the opening half hour in Kiev before their 44-goal winger was forced off by a shoulder injury after being dragged to the turf by Sergio Ramos.
In the Egyptian's absence, momentum shifted and Real – aided by two blunders from Loris Karius – went on to lift the trophy for a record 13time.
“I think losing Salah was a big blow for us,” Wijnaldum said.
“It seemed like a big blow the way we reacted after his injury. I think when he was on the pitch we did it well for 25 minutes but after there was less than before," the Dutch player added.
“At half-time the manager said that it looked like we were devastated about Mo but we had to let it go and change because it could not change.
“These things happen and we had to deal with it but it was difficult.”
Karius was inconsolable following the final whistle after gifting goals to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
“I didn't say anything because a lot of people already went to him,” Wijnaldum added.
“Sometimes you don't like it when too many people come to you.”
It was a devastating end to a fine season but the Dutch midfielder believes Liverpool will be back challenging for the big prizes once again next term.
“Sometimes those things happen in football. It is hugely frustrating but we can't change it,” he said.
“I have confidence (in this team). We have learned a lot this season, we learned a lot the season before so hopefully we can achieve great things.”
KIEV, May 27, 2018 (News Wires) - Real Madrid were crowned Champions of the UEFA Chamions League for the third time in a row following a 3-1 win on Liverpool in the final match, held in Kiev Saturday.
Gareth Bale scored two goals off the bench after Karim Benzema's opener-off the first and Sadio Mane's answer in a riveting second half.
Egypt's Mohamed Salah, whose 10 Champions League goals helped lead Liverpool to the final, was hurt just before the half-hour mark after being taken down by Sergio Ramos, suffering a left shoulder injury before walking off the field in tears.
KIEV, May 26, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool and Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian striker whose goals took his side to the Champions League final, hope their brand of attacking football can prevent Real Madrid from becoming kings of Europe for the third year in a row on Saturday.
The Spanish giants have seen the Champions League as their competition ever since winning the first five European Cups in a row, and they are in the midst of another golden era, dreaming of making it a fourth Champions League in five years.
Neither Atletico Madrid (twice) nor Juventus have been able to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from inflicting pain on them in recent finals.
But Liverpool's own attacking quality gives them reason to believe and suggests the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian capital could be the scene of an unforgettable encounter.
In terms of history alone, this is a dream final.
Real's 12 European Cup wins puts them way ahead of the rest, but Liverpool have lifted the famous trophy five times themselves, most recently in 2005, defying all the odds against AC Milan in Istanbul.
This time, under Klopp, their adventure started against Hoffenheim in the play-offs last August, continued with a 3-3 draw in Seville when they had been three goals up, before blossoming into stunning wins over Manchester City and Roma.
They have scored a record 46 goals in all in this season's Champions League, with Salah netting 11 of those -- the Egyptian has 44 in all competitions since joining from Roma last year.
"If we win the competition then the road to Kiev plus the final would be one of the most exceptional rides ever," Klopp told Liverpool's website.
Klopp has lost his last five major finals as a coach, including the 2013 Champions League with Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich, and the 2016 Europa League with Liverpool against Sevilla.
Experience means his team have to be the outsiders in Kiev -- none of the squad have ever played in a Champions League final before -- but Klopp knows Zinedine Zidane's side cannot dismiss them.
"Do Real Madrid, sitting in Madrid at the moment, think, 'thank God it's Liverpool!'? I can't imagine that," added the coach, who has welcomed Emre Can back into his squad.
Salah will of course be so important, especially if Marcelo is unable to resist the temptation to abandon his left-back position and join the Real attack.
Salah said Real's past dominance would count for nothing once the whistle blew.
"They've won it before, but it's one game, not two, so we just need to focus and not think about anything in the past," he said in an interview for UEFA's website. "When you get to the game it's just 11 against 11."
While Gareth Bale is unlikely to make Zidane's line-up, how will the Liverpool midfield cope against Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, their central defence against Ronaldo?
Five for CR7?
Real can became the first team since Bayern in 1976 to lift the European Cup three years running, and thereby make it five consecutive titles for Spain.
Ronaldo could win his fifth Champions League. That would equal the individual record, and leave him in sight of yet another Ballon d'Or.
Zidane, meanwhile, is on the brink of a third straight Champions League win as a coach.
"We have already made history and we want to keep on doing it. It would be incredible," defender Raphael Varane told Madrid sports daily Marca.
"I still don't think we have realised the scale of what we are doing, but when all this is over we will.
"Through experience we know how difficult it is going to be, but experience gives more security and serenity as well."