• News

Wenger: A less selfish Mo Salah can match Lionel Messi

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Getty Images

Arsene Wenger believes Mohamed Salah’s “huge potential” can make him reach the level of Lionel Messi as long as he becomes less selfish in front of goal.

Salah is one of the most renown figures in world football following a standout two years at Liverpool. He’s already scored 74 goals in just 110 appearances, and won back-to-back Premier League Golden Boot awards.

However, the 27-year-old has come under scrutiny lately following a recent spat with fellow Reds star Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese attacker was upset over Salah’s failure to pass him the ball during potential scoring opportunities at Burnley last time out.

Former Liverpool star Michael Owen then branded Salah “selfish”, and suggested he didn’t want Mane to score. The pair, of course, finished last season tied on 22 league goals and will likely go head-to-head for this term’s Golden Boot.

For Wenger, though, it’s not a big deal as Salah will learn in time when to go for goal or pass to a team-mate.

Once the Egyptian masters this, the sky will be the limit with even Messi within his reach.

Wenger told beIN Sports: “He’s 20 goals away basically, if you want to be as concrete as possible. But he is similar to Messi. He must still find the consistency of Messi.

“I find him a just as good finisher but Messi is the complete thing – he gives the final ball as well and Salah is a bit obsessed now by finishing himself so that’s a dimension he’ll get certainly when he gets a little bit older.

“To find the moment when you have to give the ball and when you have to finish.

“I like him very much, he has huge potential.”

The Salah-Mane controversy has obviously stirred up quite a few headlines over in England. However, Liverpool still defeated Burnley 3-0 largely thanks to the efforts of fellow attacker Roberto Firmino.

The Brazil international set-up Mane for the club’s second goal before scoring a late third to round-off a man of the match display.

But Wenger feels what sets Firmino apart from the rest is his selfless attitude, which is a valuable asset for coach Jurgen Klopp.

“You forget the guy that sacrifices himself a little bit is Firmino,” added the former Arsenal manager.

“Like Luis Suarez did for Messi and Neymar. A guy that works for the team, that works for everybody and gets them to shine.

“This piece of the jigsaw is very hard to find – a striker that is generous.”

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Mohamed Salah after scoring his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor on August 31, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)