Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1395, (24 - 30 May 2018)
Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Issue 1395, (24 - 30 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Another Salah story line

A Champions League victory will cap a brilliant season, reports Marawan Zayed

Could Mohamed Salah add another wonderful chapter to his already brilliant story this season as he takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and co in Kiev on May 26? At least all Liverpool fans hope so. The first ever Egyptian player to reach a Champions League final already won an incredible 33 individual trophies since signing for Liverpool at the start of the season but without any shadow of a doubt a win over Real Madrid in Kiev would be Salah’s biggest achievement this season and, yes, even better than taking Egypt to the World Cup. Salah has a real chance of writing history since no Egyptian player has ever managed to make a real impact in the Champions League unless you consider Mido’s goal against Real Madrid while at Marseille a memorable moment. Salah has already been a revelation in the competition this season as he notched 10 goals and five assists in addition to a goal against Hoffenheim in the qualifying round. But a win over Ronaldo and Real Madrid would take him to other places entirely and give him every chance of winning the Ballon d’Or at the expense of Ronaldo and Messi.

However, can Liverpool really win? Can Liverpool stop Ronaldo? Can Liverpool deny Real Madrid a third consecutive CL title and a fourth in the last five years? The answers are a big fat ‘yes’ even if most pundits and neutral fans say otherwise. Liverpool has a devastating attack in Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. These three certainly have the ability to destroy any team in the world on their day. Salah is having a dream debut season with the Reds and that’s why many Liverpool and Egyptian fans have a good feeling about Salah guiding the team to what seemed a farfetched dream at the start of the season. Real Madrid’s defense is not the best and looked extremely vulnerable against Juventus and Bayern Munich in the quarter and semi-finals and could have easily bowed out of the competition in either of the two rounds. Liverpool’s mastermind Jurgen Klopp has surely done his homework by now and knows that his dream trio will get plenty of chances to bring home the title 13 years after last winning it in the famous Istanbul night against AC Milan.

But Liverpool’s defense is not the best either even though Virgil Van Dijk’s presence transformed the defense after some embarrassing showings in the first half of the season. The area where Real Madrid are really better than Liverpool is midfield as the trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos are in a completely different league compared to the trio of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner, given that Emre Can and Oxlade Chamberlain are out through injury. Klopp will have to find a way to stop Real Madrid’s midfield players from controlling the game to give his side any chance of triumphing.


Ronaldo

Salah will be coming up against the best left back in the world and arguably one of the best ever in his position in Marcelo and that’s why Salah will have to be at his very best throughout the 90 minutes. Marcelo is extremely attack-minded which could give Salah plenty of space behind the Brazilian but at the same time Salah himself will need to track back as it’ll be almost impossible for Trent to stop Marcelo on his own especially that Ronaldo prefers to play close to Marcelo as well.

How do Egyptian/Real Madrid fans feel going into the game? Most have mixed feelings regarding what they want from the game. Some prefer to see Salah win and have a real chance of taking the Ballon d’Or especially that their team won three of the last four CL titles. Others want to see their team win even if it means that Salah will have no chance of beating Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or.

We just hope that Salah will add to his 44 goals this season and that he’ll be able to add another amazing chapter to his unbelievable story this season.

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