’Mohamed Salah is up there with the world’s best,’ says Liverpool skipper

Mohamed Salah has been a sensation since signing from Roma. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2018
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’Mohamed Salah is up there with the world’s best,’ says Liverpool skipper

  • Egyptian has scored 41 in 46 appearances
  • Jordan Henderson feels top clubs will be looking to sign Salah

LIVERPOOL: Jordan Henderson is confident Mohamed Salah will not be lured away from Anfield in the same manner the Egyptian was tempted from Roma last year.
Salah has surpassed all expectations since his then-club record €42 million ($52 million) move back to the Premier League last June and will face his old club in the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.
An incredible return of 41 goals in 46 appearances saw Salah crowned the Premier League Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday.
However, unlike Liverpool stars of recent seasons such as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who were attracted by the glamor of a move to Barcelona, Henderson hopes Salah is convinced to stay by the growing momentum at Liverpool and the belief they can compete for major trophies under Jurgen Klopp.
“He’s a fantastic player, obviously he’s up there with the world’s best and there will be other clubs that want to take him away,” said Henderson.
“But he’s in a great place with a great set of lads, great team, with a great manager, going in the right direction. We want to create our own history here and I’m sure Mo will want to be part of that for many years to come.”
Roma co-owner James Pallotta recognized this week that Liverpool didn’t even have to beat off much competition to Salah’s signature, as he had only shown inconsistent flashes of his full potential in two years in the Italian capital.
Klopp is credited with finding the system to bring the best out of Salah.
And having led Liverpool back to the last four of the Champions League for the first time in a decade, Henderson said his team-mates feel “privileged” to work with the German.
“He’s one of the best managers in the world. First and foremost tactically it goes without question how knowledgeable he is within the game, you can see that in the performances, the style of play and how we play football,” he added.
“Off the field he’s a fantastic human. Very genuine, has a great passion for football and that transcends throughout the team.
“He always keeps you on your toes, always looking for more, he never wants the standards to drop no matter who we are playing. He’s an amazing manager and everybody in the squad feels privileged to be working with him.”
Roma have had to wait even longer for a European Cup semifinal with their last appearance coming 34 years ago when they beat Dundee United but went on to lose to Liverpool in the final.
The manner in which they reached the semifinals even outshone Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of Premier League champions Manchester City as Roma came back from a 4-1 first leg deficit against Barcelona thanks to a 3-0 second leg victory masterminded by Roma’s own impressive coach in Eusebio Di Francesco.
But apart from their physical similarities, Di Francesco — who is making his debut as a coach in the Champions League this season — believes he has a long way to go to earn comparisons with Klopp.
“As Klopp mentioned there are similarities in that we both wear glasses and have a beard,” he joked. “But I very much like his outlook.
“I am concerned we play a team coached by such a great manager. Klopp has proved himself, has won already titles, but I have great ambitions.”


Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

Updated 14 October 2018
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Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

  • On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0
  • Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia as he seeks to build ahead of next year’s Asian Cup in the UAE and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Really, I don’t care about the results,” Katanec told Arab News. “What will be, will be. I hope that I will see good things from our players — personality and nothing more. I will just ask the players to give all that they have. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to show too much in a game, that behavior can be a problem also.”
On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0. Katanec fielded a reinforced five-men defense, but to little avail as Lautaro Martinez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi all got on the scoreboard. “To prepare a friendly match with two training sessions… with players that I don’t quite know — how they are, how their behavior is and all these things, that’s difficult but anyway we are here, that is our job,” said Katanec
Ali Adnan from Atlanta in Italy and Justin Meram from Columbus Crew in the US started against Argentina, but the new Iraq coach may ring the changes against Saudi Arabia, a team he rates highly.
“I will give a chance to all the players who are now with us,” said Katanec. “I hope that we will be at a very good level. Saudi Arabia is a good team, a 100 percent. If they participated in the World Cup, they deserved it. They also played quite good football in Russia, even in the first game: a part of the first game, but the following two matches they were very solid. I know, in this region you have good players. Saudi Arabia have invested a lot of money in football and that’s important. So, big respect for them. They can show, if they can, that they are better than us, but we will also try to do our best.”
In September the Slovenian was appointed coach of Iraq, succeeding Basim Qasim.
Katanec enjoys a wealth of experience in the international game, having guided his native Slovenia to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea. He also coached the United Arab Emirates from 2009 and 2011, but his 2011 Asian Cup campaign ended in disappointment as his team failed to register a single point in a group with Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
The 55-year-old considers the friendly against the Green Falcons a part of the learning curve for Iraq as they look toward the 2019 Asian Cup and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. In November, Iraq have confirmed a friendly against Jordan in preparation for the continental tournament where they will face Iran, Vietnam and Yemen in group D.
“These friendly games are very important in that I will know what to do before the Asian Cup,” explained Katanec. “We need information: how the players are, what their condition is like at this moment. You know, the media at all times want to put some pressure on all of us, but until now I am very satisfied with how the team works.”