Mo Salah, a genius the equal of Ronaldo and Messi

Egyptian Mohamed Salah added to his growing reputation as a player the equal of greats like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when he scored the first two goals and set up the next two in a Liverpool onslaught that ended with the Reds leading 5-0 after 81 minutes before Roma pulled two goals back to reduce the scoreline to 5-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal series.

Roma held off Liverpool for 35 minutes before the Reds broke through at Anfield for five goals in 33 minutes. The Giallorossi could do nothing to stop Salah from breaking in from the right wing, where he used his left foot to float a ball over Roma's helpless Brazilian keeper, Alisson, into the far corner.

Salah's genius is that he makes everything look so easy, like the little chip over Alisson just before halftime after teammate Roberto Firmino put him through on a stunning counterattack.

“The first goal is a genius strike," he said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. "He has scored a few like this. It is no coincidence. In the second goal, he is cool in the moment and then makes the other two goals."

Salah set up Sadio Mane goal and then the first of two Firmino goals. On the Firmani goal, Salah made Roma defender Juan Jesus look so silly he was soon substituted.

"If you think he is the best in the world," added Klopp, "write it or say it. What I will say is he is in outstandingly, world-class shape. To be the best in the world you have to do it for a longer period, I think. The other two [Messi and Ronaldo] are not bad."

The only surprise was Klopp's decision to take Salah out with a 5-0 lead in the 74th minute. Eden Dzeko and Diego Perotti scored in the last 10 minutes to reduce Liverpool's lead to 5-2 and give Roma hope. In the quarterfinals, a late away goal in the 4-1 loss at Barcelona proved to be decisive when Roma came back to win the second leg 3-0 and capture the series on the away goal.

“If anyone wants to say it was my mistake we conceded two goal because I changed the striker," said Klopp, "I have no problem with that.”

8 comments about "Mo Salah, a genius the equal of Ronaldo and Messi".
  1. Giorgio Cabanas, April 24, 2018 at 10:33 p.m.

    He is not the equal of Messi or Ronaldo. To be their equal he needs to have at least 10 more seasons exactly like this one. So let’s hold off on the hyperbole. If you want to re-title this Mo Sala: The genius the equal of one of Messi & Robaldo’s seasons, we’ll by all means. Klopp got it right:”To be the best in the world you have to do it for a longer period.”

  2. Right Winger replied, April 27, 2018 at 3:19 p.m.

    Agree.  Quality consistency over time = greatness

  3. Vince Leone, April 25, 2018 at 1:26 a.m.

    I agree with Giorgio. It would take many great seasons to be in the same league as Messi and Ronaldo--which is precisely why there is currently no one in the same league as them.

  4. Vince Leone, April 25, 2018 at 1:28 a.m.

    Things will be interesting if Liverpool wins the series by one goal. That missed offsides call would be the decider in that case.

  5. John Soares, April 25, 2018 at 4:42 a.m.

    There is a long list of would/will be, greater than Ronaldo and Messi. Most have faded or simply proved to be very good players.
    Having a "year" equal to Ronaldo or Messi, yes.
    Being equal overall will take a long time to prove/demonstrate, and one or even several years is not it.


  6. John Soares, April 25, 2018 at 4:42 a.m.

    There is a long list of would/will be, greater than Ronaldo and Messi. Most have faded or simply proved to be very good players.
    Having a "year" equal to Ronaldo or Messi, yes.
    Being equal overall will take a long time to prove/demonstrate, and one or even several years is not it.


  7. R2 Dad, April 25, 2018 at 2:05 p.m.

    The CL results will help pave the way for who is the best this year. Messi is already out of the CL, Ronaldo might make it to the final, Salah has one foot in the final already. If Salah can help Liverpool win the title this year, he could be an equal to the two who have dominated the ballon d'or for the past 10 years. Why? Two reasons:

    1) Because Barca and Real have entire teams of superstars while Liverpool only has 2 (and lost a 3rd to Barca in January).
    2) World Cup year - Egypt has a decent chance of getting out of the group stage. If Salah plays like he did yesterday and drags his team to a quarterfinal, it will be very hard to vote against him for the ballon d'or.

    One good year, a good CL and WC result, could be more impressive than Messi trying for 10 years of trying to get Argentina to win something. Not a popular take, but Salah is riding a hot hand right now and truthfully I'm tired of the whole Messi/Ronaldo thing.

  8. beautiful game, April 27, 2018 at 2:55 p.m.

    Giorgio is right; greatness is measured by consistency and trophies.

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