Mohamed Salah promises Liverpool fans: This is ‘just the start’

Mohamed Salah feels his 43 goals for Liverpool this season is just the start. (AFP)
Updated 11 May 2018
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Mohamed Salah promises Liverpool fans: This is ‘just the start’

  • Salah named Football Writers' Player of the Year
  • 'It is just the start ... it's just the beginning'

LONDON Mohamed Salah has reassured Liverpool fans his stunning first season is “just the beginning” of his time at the club despite speculation over interest from Real Madrid.
The Egyptian collected awards in Liverpool on Thursday after being voted player of the season by both the club’s fans and his teammates before boarding a flight to collect the Football Writers’ Association’s award in London.
The 25-year-old has scored 43 goals in all competitions since arriving from Roma last summer, a return that has seen him heavily linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid, who face Liverpool in the Champions League later this month.
But Salah, who needs just one more goal to become the outright record-holder for the most strikes in a 38-match season in the Premier League, appears content with life at the club.
“I’m very happy here, everything is fine,” he said. “Of course I have got ambitions for the future with Liverpool. As you can see we had a great season, now we are in the Champions League final and everyone is excited.
“It is just the start. This is my first year here and it is the same for some other players. It is just the beginning.”
Liverpool cannot focus all of their energies on Real just yet, with the battle for a place in next season’s Champions League still not settled.
A point in their final match, at home to Brighton on Sunday, will be enough to secure a top-four finish, after which all eyes turn to Kiev.
Salah, who was last month crowned Professional Footballers’ Association players’ player of the year, won the writers’ award ahead of Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Kane.
Speaking in London, he said: “I was here four years ago (with Chelsea) and a lot of people were saying he couldn’t play in the Premier League. I left Chelsea but it was always in my mind to come back to make them wrong. So I make them wrong.
“I’m not the same player. I improved a lot in Rome but I can’t say everything is me. The team-mates are maybe different. The coach is tough and they always help me inside and outside the pitch.”


Maria Sharapova looks back to her best as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal show no signs of slowing down

Updated 18 January 2019
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Maria Sharapova looks back to her best as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal show no signs of slowing down

  • Sharapova dumps out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.
  • Rafa and Roger brush aside young guns in straight sets victories.

LONDON: It is coming up to the end of the first week of the Australian Open, so we thought we would take a look and see how some of the big names fared on day five of the year’s first Grand Slam.

MARIA SHARAPOVA

Maria Sharapova warned she is in the sort of form to win the Australian Open after she dumped Carolina Wozniacki out with an impressive 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win. It was the Russian’s best win since her return from a drugs ban and she looked like a winner-in-waiting.
“I thought the level was quite high. I knew I’d get a tough match — she (Wozniacki) is the defending champion,” the five-time Slam champion said.
“I haven’t played many matches in the last year against top players so it was really rewarding to win that last set. These are the kinds of matches I train for.”



ROGER FEDERER

Ageless Roger Federer marked his 100th Rod Laver Arena match Friday by storming past Taylor Fritz, then looked forward to a “high quality” last-16 clash against another young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion continued his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 third-round demolition of 21-year-old American Fritz in just 88 minutes of flawless tennis.
Next up is 14th seed Tsitsipas. And the 37-year-old Federer is looking forward to taking on the fiery young Greek, who is 17 years his junior.
Federer played him in the recent mixed teams Hopman Cup, winning a closely contested singles 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), and said he was impressed.
“I think he played really well there. I actually did too. I thought it was really high quality tennis,” Federer said.
“This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being a fourth round of a Slam.”



RAFAEL NADAL

Rafael Nadal declared “everything is a step forward” after brutally brushing aside Alex de Minaur at the Australian Open Friday in just the Spaniard’s third match since the US Open.
The world No. 2 was in ominous form as he continued his quest for an 18th Grand Slam by punishing the Australian teenager in a third-round tennis masterclass 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“In general terms, everything is a step forward. So that’s positive news for me,” said the man who won the Aussie Open in 2009.
“I’m very happy for the victory against someone who had won seven matches in a row, winning a tournament.”
On his fitness Nadal added: “Probably 10 years ago it would have been difficult not playing much tennis in the build-up but now I have been in this situation many times with the injuries I have had.
“I have to deal with the ups and downs of my body but I try to enjoy any moment on the court.”



MARIN CILIC

The former US Open champions was made to work for his place in the last 16 as he struggled to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3. Verdasco showed glimpses of the form that once made him a top-10 player and had a match point, one he frittered away with a double fault.
I was just slightly luckier in those crucial moments,” the sixth-seeded Cilic said.
“(It is) unbelievable. Emotions were up and down,” Cilic said.
“When I was down two sets to none, it was a big hill to climb.”
It’s the seventh time in Cilic’s career that he has emerged to win a match after dropping the opening two sets.



ANGELIQUE KERBER

Second seed Kerber received a gift ride into the Australian Open fourth round for her 31st birthday when she overpowered local wildcard Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0.
The Wimbledon champion swept world No. 240 Birrell aside in just 58 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with unseeded American Danielle Collins.
Kerber, a winner at Melbourne Park in 2016, said she was used to celebrating her birthday on the road at the season-opening Grand Slam.
“I think it’s the 12th time in a row,” she said. “I’m getting older but I have the best time here and I’ll never forget my birthdays here in Australia.”
Kerber reached the semifinals last year but lost to Simona Halep in a tight three-setter.