Frank Lampard praised the way his old Chelsea team-mate Mohamed Salah bounced from his disappointing Blues stint to become a “superstar”.
Then-Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho signed Salah in January 2014 from FC Basel for €16,50m. He then spent the following few months working alongside Lampard, with the duo teaming up for a goal against Stoke City in their four games together.
However, Salah struggled to break into Mourinho’s line-up and ended up with just two goals in 19 appearances. He later left for Fiorentina in 2015 on loan before ending up at AS Roma.
But the Egyptian star still had some unfinished business to attend in the Premier League, and so signed up for Liverpool in 2017.
Since completing his €42m transfer, Salah has established himself as one of the biggest names in England by bagging 58 goals and 24 assists in just 79 league appearances for the Reds.
Now, the 27-year-old will face Lampard on Sunday for the first time since the latter became the new Chelsea manager.
“It is hard because everyone has their own pathways,” Lampard told reporters on Salah during Friday’s press conference.
“Unfortunately for Mo, it didn’t work out here, but it is great credit to him. He went to Italy and then came back and now he is a superstar.
“As for his path, it is hard to compare to what may have been. I had an overlap with him. The talent was obviously there. At the time, I think we had a lot of options in attacking areas.
“Number 10s, wingers and he didn’t get as many opportunities for whatever reason, but yes you could see the talent was there.
“But the player that he is now or that came back to Liverpool, I think you have to say huge credit is due. You don’t have to search for anything more than look at Mo himself.
“You have to say what professionalism and work ethic. To leave a club like Chelsea is not easy. People then cast you aside and say you won’t make it there.
“He went on to be the superstar he is now. It is completely credit to Mo himself.”
Salah has already managed four goals and two assists in his opening five Premier League games this season.
The Chelsea and Liverpool match takes place at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with kick-off set for 17:30 (CET).