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Liverpool’s Salah ‘on his way’ to Messi comparisons — Klopp

By Reuters - Mar 18,2018 - Last updated at Mar 18,2018

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah celebrates with the match ball after the English Premier League match against Watford in Liverpool on Saturday (Reuters photo by Lee Smith)

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is on his way to reaching the elite level of Lionel Messi, but has no interest in being compared to the prodigious Barcelona striker, manager Juergen Klopp has said.

Salah, 25, struck four goals in Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford that lifted them back into third place in the Premier League on Saturday.

The unstoppable Egyptian needed only four minutes to put his side in front and he doubled his tally just before halftime.

He set up Roberto Firmino for a cheeky effort early in the second half before placing a shot through a crowd of Watford defenders to complete his first Liverpool hat-trick.

There was no respite for Watford at a snowy Anfield as the clinical Salah smashed in his fourth goal in the 85th minute — from his fourth shot on target.

The Egypt international moved to 28 league goals, four goals clear of Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot. He has 36 in all competitions this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a debut campaign for the club.

Asked about the similarities in Salah and Messi’s style of play, Klopp said: “Mo is on the way, that’s good. I don’t think that Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi.”

“He [Messi] has been doing what he’s been doing for what feels like 20 years or so... the last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona.” 

The last player to score four goals in a Liverpool shirt was Messi’s current strike partner at Barcelona Luis Suarez. 

The Uruguay international netted a first-half hat-trick before adding another after the break in a 5-1 league victory over Norwich City in 2013.

“Mo is on a fantastic way... but how it always is in life, if you have the skills then you have to show it constantly,” Klopp added. 

“His consistency is good for us. He helps us a lot, the boys love playing with him, he loves playing with them, so it’s good.”

Liverpool, who needed a positive response after losing to Manchester United last week, went off the boil for much of the first half, but Salah tapped in Andy Robertson’s cross close to halftime to move past the 33 goals scored by Fernando Torres in his first season at Anfield in 2007-08.

When his cross picked out Firmino who finished with his back to goal for Liverpool’s third in the 49th minute it was a matter of how many the hosts would score.

Salah sealed his hat-trick when he wriggled into the area and stabbed the ball past Watford keeper Orestis Karnezis and added his side’s fifth when he pounced to smash home a loose ball after another fine Liverpool move.

Watford had decent spells in the first half and Roberto Pereyra did strike the crossbar with a second-half free kick, but they were easy pickings for Klopp’s slick side.

Defeat left Watford in 11th spot, a comfortable eight points above the relegation zone.

“It was a real tough day for the whole team — 5-0 is a pretty embarrassing scoreline,” Watford defender Adrian Mariappa said. “Today Salah was on it and he punished us.”

Liverpool moved to 63 points from 31 games, two behind second-placed Manchester United who have a game in hand. 

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