So it says everything about the stellar season Mo Salah has enjoyed that some people are already whispering his name as one of the Prem’s finest imports ever.
Before it’s pointed out, I’m well aware that Salah has to do it for many years before he can be spoken of as one of the all-time greats.
Yet in terms of a debut season in English football? Well, I have to say the Liverpool hero has managed something not even those two Arsenal legends achieved.
Thierry and Dennis are rightly viewed as two of the finest foreigners not just to pull on a Gunners shirt, but to light up the Premier League in general.
Yet it’s easy to forget now, given the heights they went on to scale so regularly, how both took time to adjust when they first arrived in England.
The pair of them came here on the back of troubled times at Juventus and Inter Milan respectively — but didn’t dominate the Prem straight away.
Egyptian ace Salah, on the other hand, didn’t just hit the ground running, he did so at such a pace that he would have left even Usain Bolt for dead.
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Never before has an overseas player made such a sensational impact in his debut season at a Prem club — even if he had a fleeting taste of life over here as a young player.
That’s why he was 100 per cent the correct choice to be named PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night.
Not even Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could have dreamed he would be such an instant smash hit.
If he had started life at Anfield with say ten to 12 goals this campaign, people would have thought it had been reasonable enough.
But to get 41? That’s just the stuff of fantasy football.
Now, of course, comes the REAL challenge. One that the two Arsenal legends met so successfully, so often.
And that is to prove he can do it on a consistent basis, week in, week out, over years and years.
Not that I am suggesting Mo is going to be a one-season wonder, far from it.
But next season there will be no surprise element — just fans’ sky-high expectations from the word go.
It says much about what he’s done for Liverpool that Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho has rarely been mentioned since he joined Barcelona.
In hindsight, that’s probably why Klopp never kicked up a fuss about him going in the first place.
The Liverpool boss knew he had a player who better suited the pattern.
When Salah was signed from Roma last summer for £34.3million, while few said he was overpriced, there WERE a few eyebrows raised.
We all wondered how he would go after hardly getting a chance at Chelsea four years ago. Now it’s safe to say we have had our answer.
That spell at Stamford Bridge was on the back of just one full season in the Swiss league with Basel.
Even then, though, he scored one wonder goal when Chelsea beat Arsenal 6-0 and he came on as a late sub.
When the Egyptian came back to England this time, it was after two seasons taking Serie A by storm with Roma — the first on loan — with Champions League experience to boot.
How ironic, then, that tonight he will be the biggest barrier to his old club when the Italians come to Anfield for the first leg of their European semi-final showdown.
If there’s anyone who knows Salah’s game, it’s Roma. Or at least, I’m sure that’s what they will be thinking.
Very skilful, very diminutive, very tricky… but what they won’t know is that the player in front of them now is also a lot more driven and a proper goal monster.
The Mo Salah who Roma knew so well was a £30m footballer who helped them finish second in Serie A last season.
But the one they will be facing tonight is a £100m superstar who could really run them ragged…
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