Liverpool’s decision to spend a club-record €50m on Chelsea “reject” Mohamed Salah back in the summer was met with mixed grades and opinions, but as the current top scorer in the league, it’s safe to say that so far that investment has worked out just about as well as they could’ve expected — and considering that he’s scored more goals than Harry Kane (9 vs. 8) on 22 fewer shots (42 vs. 64), any missed chances get put into fairly positive perspective still.
It wasn’t obvious that Salah would find immediate success upon his return in England after “flopping” with Chelsea three years prior — though maybe we should’ve watched him at Roma more closely? — but he’s become the latest annoyingly excellent ex-Chelsea player on whom it turns out we may have given up just a bit too quickly. And while I may use a generic “we”, the obstacles faced by both Salah and Kevin De Bruyne were very similar, if not exactly the same.
“He has quality but in that period I remember we had me, Willian, Oscar, so for him it was not easy. [But] in training he would do everything. Even in the games when he was playing, sometimes he would score goals, so we knew the quality he had. I am just happy for him.”
“When you are not playing at a club you need to go. You need a chance and he took his chance at Fiorentina, so he did everything that you have to do when you are not playing. If I was not playing, I’d want to go. That’s normal because of all the players want to play. With him he did well and I am just happy for him.”
As a sign of friendship and respect, Hazard has confirmed that he will ask his former teammate for his shirt after the game on Saturday.
“He’s a top player, for sure, and we know as a team the quality he has. He is a fantastic striker and this season he has scored a lot of goals. It is always good to play against a friend but Liverpool is not only about Salah. They have a lot of quality players.”
“I watched him when he played for Roma – one of my friends from the national team, Radja Nainggolan, is also there – and he did very well. Now he is still at the top. And then even with his country he did well to reach the World Cup. At Liverpool he is still doing well, so I think we need to be careful with him. I want to ask him for his shirt, for sure, on Saturday.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Guardian
Salah, who’s scored 3 goals in 4 games against Chelsea in his career (all with FC Basel back in 2012-2014), will pose as great of a threat as any faced by Chelsea this season and that’s before we get to the rest of his similarly quick and dangerous teammates.
But Hazard does feel that Chelsea are in good confidence at the moment, and have what it takes to keep winning.
“I’m feeling good. I am 100 per cent. After injury sometimes you are not feeling 100 per cent, but I am ready to play every game. Of course when you are winning games it does help. Confidence is high. We are playing well at the moment, we want to keep playing like this and keep winning games.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
Let’s hope he’s right.