LONDON, May 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool FC defender Dejan Lovren said that his Egyptian teammate, Mohamed Salah, is "definitely" the best player in the world as Liverpool prepare to take on a Real Madrid side boasting Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in the UEFA Champions League final.
Salah has had a sensational first season on Merseyside, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and claiming the Premier League's Golden Boot with 32.
Those performances have seen the Egypt international scoop the Premier League's Player of the Season award and the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize, while he has also been mentioned as a future Ballon d'Or candidate.
And Lovren believes Salah deserves to be in the reckoning for football's top individual honour, putting him alongside Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
"Of course I spoke to Mo about that [the Ballon d'Or] but it's still an early stage," he told a news conference. "If we win [the final], he's definitely one of the contenders.
"He can be in the top three best players in the world. He has this world-class experience already.
"He is still calm, down to earth and he deserves every credit and every goal he's scored up to now. We will help him to achieve thisdream for himself personally."
Asked whether Salah was the best player in the world at the moment, Lovren replied: "Definitely. When you score that many in the Premier League, definitely.
LONDON, May 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is quietly confident his side can upset the odds by preventing Real Madrid from claiming a third consecutive Champions League title on Saturday, to cap a stunning season engineered by the German.
Klopp’s men started their UEFA Champions League campaign in a playoff against Hoffenheim just to make the group stages back in August.
Now, after plundering 46 goals in 14 games, Liverpool have made it back to the Champions League final in Kiev for the first time in 11 years.“I don’t want to talk about confidence, but we feel good and think we deserve to be where we are because the boys really showed up in all the different games,” said Klopp on Monday.
“It was a very exciting journey so far and now we want to bring it to the best possible end.”
By contrast, Madrid are featuring in their fourth final in five years. But Klopp believes Liverpool can compensate for their lack of experience compared to the European champions with other qualities that have characterised their run to the final.
“If there is an experienced market, they should sell it because then they would be even more rich than they are already,” Klopp added of the Spanish giants.
“Experience is very important in life but not the only important thing in life, and especially in football. It is an advantage to be more experienced, but you can level it with desire, with readiness, attitude, work rate and that is what I ;ove in football.”
Liverpool will be back in the Champions League next season no matter the outcome in the Ukranian capital as they held on to finish fourth in the
Premier League despite a late-season blip in form as the physical toil of their European exertions showed.Klopp took his squad on a warm weather training camp in Marbella last week.
MADRID, May 21,2018 (News Wires) - Xabi Alonso believes Liverpool can beat Real Madrid and be European champions but only if they cope with the pressure of playing in a Champions League final. Alonso won Europe's premier tournament with Liverpool in 2005 and Real in 2014, having spent five years playing for both of this season's finalists.
Real are no strangers to this stage of the competition. They have reached three of the last four Champions League finals and won them all, with Saturday's showdown offering them the chance for a third consecutive triumph.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are without a single player to have experienced a match of this magnitude. Only their coach Jurgen Klopp has gone the distance in Europe, with Borussia Dortmund, who were beaten by Bayern Munich in 2013.
“They have to prepare for the game very well because Real Madrid have all the experience,” Alonso said on Monday.
“For all the Liverpool players it will be their first Champions League final. They have to deal with this emotional side which is almost as important as the football side.
“If they can get the right balance between the excitement and the motivation, that will be the right way to approach this final.”
Alonso thinks Liverpool will need to play “the perfect game” to cause an upset in Kiev but Klopp's men have arguably Europe's most dangerous attack in their favour.
Three of the four top scorers in this season's Champions League belong to Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both on 10 and Sadio Mane on nine. Real´s Cristiano Ronaldo is out in front on 15.
“Whenever they have space, Real need to control them,” Alonso said. “They are able to attack through the middle of the pitch, they can connect with short passes very well, they combine very well.
“They are definitely one of the biggest strengths of Liverpool at the moment.”
While Liverpool are gunning for their sixth European success, Real are chasing their 13th to move six clear of AC Milan in the all-time list of champions.
“They are making history, they are big and getting bigger,” Alonso said. “What they have achieved in the last few years is not only a big surprise, a few years back you would think it was absolutely impossible.
“Zidane has done so well to manage the team and make the players have great belief in what he does. He has my total respect and admiration.”
LONDON, May 21,2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool’s German international midfielder Emre Can, who has missed the past two months with injury, returned to training ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Can trained with the Liverpool squad today and his return to fitness is a boost for Klopp whose midfield options have been restricted by injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But Klopp cautioned about Can’s potential involvement in the game in Kiev.
“It depends always on the reaction. But let me put it this way, 10 days ago I didn’t think it is possible he could do what he did today. It looked good. It was really positive but we have to wait,” he told reporters.
“The door is open — he is really desperate to be a part. We shall see,” Klopp added.
James Milner, who missed the final Premier League game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion with a muscle problem, also took part in the training session.
LONDON, May 21,2018 (News Wires) - Another award, another win for Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has added to his fine treasury of accolades by being named the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year with a staggering 89% of the votes. It serves as the latest beacon of an incredible debut season at Liverpool in which he has embarked on a ruthless hunt of club and Premier League records.
He saw off competition from David de Gea (Manchester United), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) and Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) to take the accolade.
Salah was also recently named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year ahead of Manchester City’s title-winning Kevin De Bruyne, as well as the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.
A Premier League Golden Boot sits just below on his resume thanks to his record 32 goals in a 38-game campaign, whilst he also boasts the honour as the first player to pick up three PFA Player of the Month awards in a single season.
The forward’s current haul of 44 goals across all competitions leaves him an agonising three short of Ian Rush’s 47 in the 1983/84 season.
That being said, Salah will have the opportunity to close that gap in Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.
An unforgettable return to England could reach astonishing heights were Liverpool to emerge from Kiev victorious this weekend.
The stage is set for a European showdown flaunting the attacking talent to be a thriller. If predictions of a straight shoot-out are fulfilled, Salah isn’t finished in front of goal just yet.
Liverpool great Craig Johnston said Jurgen Klopp's Reds cannot afford to lose goalscoring sensation Mohamed Salah amid links to Real Madrid.
Salah has enjoyed a breathtaking maiden campaign, the former Roma forward endearing himself to the Anfield faithful with 44 goals in all competitions this season.
The Egyptian star scored a record 32 Premier League goals to scoop the Golden Boot, while he also claimed the PFA Players' Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.
Salah's exploits, however, have not gone unnoticed with European champions Madrid – Liverpool's opponents in Saturday's Champions League final – reportedly interested in the 25-year-old.
Former Liverpool midfielder Johnston, who won five league titles, the European Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield during his time on Merseyside between 1981-88, said it is vital the club keep hold of Salah, having already lost Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014 and Philippe Coutinho in January.
"Liverpool have to keep Salah," the 57-year-old Australian said in an interview with Omnisport.
"You can't lose Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and then lose Mo Salah.
"A lot of people in Liverpool are in love with that man, men and women, and kids and babies. We're all in love with him. If the love of our life gets dragged away to another family before we've seen them grow up properly, you get annoyed.
"Salah cannot possibly leave Liverpool."
Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League this term, two points behind third-placed Tottenham but 25 points adrift of record-breaking champions Manchester City.
The Reds have already signed Naby Keita from German side RB Leipzig, while more arrivals are expected on Merseyside.
And Johnston believes Liverpool – with the help of some new faces – will challenge for domestic honours in 2018-19.
Johnston said: "I'm shocked and delighted to see them in the Champions League final and I'm delighted to see them fourth in the league – 100 per cent they're on track.
"No one is leaving. This squad has to be bolstered because I think the Scouse community has had enough of people picking off our best players. Enough already.
"We're on track and the train is moving forward. We have to win as many Champions Leagues as Real Madrid."
LONDON, May 15, 2018 (News Wires) - Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is “looking forward” to taking Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah on for the Golden Boot next season.
Kane broke the 30-goal barrier in the Premier League for the first time in his career this campaign, yet still finished two goals behind Liverpool forward Salah.
Kane was voted the best striker this season in our top ten, and is already looking ahead to a battle with the Egyptian in 2018/19.
“It’s good to have competition and it’s great for the Premier League to have two players at the 30-goal mark,” Kane told Sky Sports.
“For me, it was a target to improve on last year, when I got 29, and it was nice to get to that 30-goal mark.
“Salah has done great this year, he deserves it, he deserves the Golden Boot. I am looking forward to the competition again next season.
“I haven’t seen Salah to talk with him. But this is what you want at the highest level – you want to be fighting for things and I think we pushed each other. He broke the record for a 38-game season and that is what I will try to do next season.
“Salah has done amazing and he looks like a great player. We’ll see if we can both continue it next season.”