Mohamed Salah Gives Liverpool 'Nuclear Strength,' Says Jose Mourinho

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2018

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool and SSC Napoli at Anfield on December 11, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has praised the development of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, saying the Egyptian gives his team "nuclear strength."

Mourinho worked with Salah at Chelsea, although the player failed to impress at Stamford Bridge and was sent out on loan to Fiorentina and Roma, where he eventually moved to on a permanent basis.

However, Salah has take English football by storm since returning to the Premier League with Liverpool in 2017, and Mourinho said he's been impressed by the way Salah has developed in recent years, per Matthew Treadwell of Sky Sports.

"The Salah I knew at Chelsea was a project player. Now he is one of the best in the world. He has developed incredibly well since then on every level. He was a fast, fragile boy, and [now] he is a fast, strong man; physically amazing.

"He was not psychologically adapted to the Premier League when he came from a small club in Switzerland [Basel] to a big club in England. I played him at White Hart Lane and The Eithad, and it was too much for him. Now he plays anywhere, Barcelona, Madrid, and he's like, 'I am Mo Salah, and I am afraid of nobody.'

"Liverpool have many strengths, but he is a nuclear strength."

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (R) gives instructions to Chelsea's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in west London on February 8, 201
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Mourinho was speaking ahead of his side's meeting with Salah's Liverpool on Sunday in the Premier League. United are sixth in the top flight, while the Reds can go back to the summit after Manchester City's win over Everton on Saturday.

If they are going to go all the way in the Premier League this season, you suspect Salah will play an enormous part. Football journalist Dave O'Connell summed up just how productive the forward has been since his arrival at Anfield:


Mohamed Salah involved in 78 goals in 75 games for Liverpool now. 78.

At Chelsea, it was clear there were still areas Salah needed to improve, as his searing speed often wasn't matched by sharp decision-making in the final third.

However, his time in Italy refined him as a footballer, and working under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool in a setup that's tailored towards getting the best out of him has taken him to another level.

The rise of Salah has also prompted some questions about Mourinho's management, and Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette questioned in the summer whether he can manage a particular type of footballer:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

I think Martial is done at #MUFC - as Salah and De Bruyne were cooked at Chelsea. The parallels are clear. Mourinho struggles with certain types of flair players. His system demands pragmatism. Not skill and guile. #mufcpreseason

Salah has yet to score against United in his short Liverpool career but has been in blistering form lately. After a stunning hat-trick at Bournemouth last weekend, he netted the winner for the Reds in their crunch UEFA Champions League game with Napoli on Tuesday.

Mourinho's team have competed well against Liverpool in recent years, and the Portuguese tends to have a plan to halt Salah. However, based on the recent fortunes of both teams and the way Salah is performing, that'll be an almighty ask on Sunday.