Steven Gerrard Hails Mohamed Salah as World's Best After Roma Masterclass

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2018

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and A.S. Roma at Anfield on April 24, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Liverpool's former captain Steven Gerrard has hailed Mohamed Salah as the finest footballer in the world after his devastating performance in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final against Roma. 

Salah lit up Anfield once again in a 5-2 win for the Reds, tearing into his hapless former side with two goals and two assists. Reflecting on his performance afterwards on BT Sport (h/t Dejan Kalinic of Goal), Gerrard said the Egyptian is the elite player in world football right now.

"He's in the form of his life," said the ex-midfielder. "It's difficult to compare him to your [Cristiano] Ronaldos and [Lionel] Messis because they've done it for so long and they've been consistent year in, year out. But without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Youth League Quarter-Final at Manchester City Football Academy on March 14, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Manchester City FC/Man City via Getty Images)
Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

It was another incredible night for Salah in what has been a sensational first season at Liverpool, as he grabbed his 42nd and 43rd goals of 2017-18.

They were strikes that summed up the brilliance of the forward. The first saw him cut inside and fire in from the corner of the box in classic fashion, while the second was a cool dink over the onrushing Roma goalkeeper Alisson.

Factor in two assists in the second half, and it's little surprise to see Salah being discussed in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo. Bleacher Report's Dean Jones believes the Liverpool man is on course to challenge for the game's top individual prize:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

Mo Salah going to challenge for Ballon d’Or at the rate he’s banging em in 🔥

As we can see here, in terms of goals scored there isn't a player who can match Salah in Europe at the moment:

B/R Football @brfootball

Out on his own 🔥💯🙌 https://t.co/hrjcvMTUWd

While Gerrard was effusive in his praise for the Liverpool No. 11, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was a little calmer in his assessment.

"What I will say he is in world-class shape, 100 per cent," said the German, per Dominic King of the Daily Mail. "But to be the best in the world, you have to do that over longer period. There are one or two others who are doing that, I would say."

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Jurgen Klopp the manager of Liverpool congratulates Mohamed Salah after substituting him during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and A.S. Roma at Anfield on April 24, 2018 in Liverpool,
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Regardless of where he ranks in terms of individuals, Salah is propelling Liverpool towards a sixth European Cup as things stand. 

At the moment, there's no more confident footballer around. The Egypt international is devastating on the ball in the final third, ruthless in front of goal and, in Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, has a tremendous supporting cast.

The competition's Twitter account broke down the influence of that threesome:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🇧🇷 Firmino - 10 goals, 7 assists 🇪🇬 Salah - 10 goals, 4 assists 🇸🇳 Mané - 8 goals, 2 assists This trio 👌 #UCL https://t.co/Gh2ndI0fqP

Of course, Liverpool still have a job to do in Rome after letting the visitors back into the contest late on. However, with Salah and his fellow forwards playing with such swagger, the Italians need a miracle to turn the tie around.

The final in Ukraine, where Liverpool will face either Bayern Munich of Real Madrid if they see the second leg through, will be another stage you would expect Salah to shine on. And if he can inspire this team to a sixth European Cup, it would be difficult to argue with Gerrard's assessment.