Mohamed Salah admits photo of his Kyiv pain spurred him on in Madrid
‘You can feel what you can beat so I just looked at it one time and said, ‘Okay, let’s go.’
Mohamed Salah lifts the Champions League trophy after Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Mohamed Salah believes he was fated to score in Liverpool’s sixth European Cup triumph having used a picture of last season’s misery in Kyiv to inspire his redemption in the Champions League final.
Moments before leaving the changing room to face Tottenham on Saturday, the Egypt international looked at a photograph of his despair from 12 months ago when forced out of the final against Real Madrid after 30 minutes by Sergio Ramos. Within two minutes of kick-off in Madrid, Salah had converted his 29th goal of the season from the penalty spot to send Liverpool on their way to the first trophy of Jürgen Klopp’s reign.
The striker claimed he and Liverpool were destined to emerge victorious at Estadio Metropolitano. “I looked at the picture from last year before the game,” said Salah. “We were disappointed after the final and now we are back and have won it again, the sixth time for Liverpool. It is something great.
“I was very disappointed that I got injured and went out after 30 minutes and we lost the game. It was something to motivate me to win. I didn’t look at the picture for a long time. You can feel what you can beat so I just looked at it one time and said, ‘Okay, let’s go.’”
Asked whether he believed in fate and that he would star against Spurs, Liverpool’s leading goalscorer replied: “I do. Absolutely. Our job is more mental and you have to believe in yourself before the game. You could see the players; we were believing in ourselves in the game. I think everything happens for a reason and the reason for us to lose the final last season was to come back and win it again.”
Salah insisted there were no nerves when he stepped up to convert the early penalty beyond Hugo Lloris. “I prepared myself before the game,” he said. “I scored a penalty to send Egypt to the World Cup after 28 years in the last minute, so this one was easier. It’s great. The final of the Champions League, take a penalty, show the courage and to win the trophy.”
Liverpool’s sixth European crown ended cup final losing streaks for both the club and Klopp, and Salah is confident the win in Madrid will mark the start of a sustained period of success at Anfield.
“It is something special. The first trophy and it’s the Champions League! It’s the start. It’s the first competition. We will go next season for the Premier League. This season was the first season we were really fighting for the Premier League, last season we were basically fighting for the Champions League. The year before the Europa League.
“We lost the Premier League with one point against Man City, which was well deserved. I don’t want to take anything away from Tottenham. They were great, a good team and deserved to be in the final. They had an unbelievable competition. What I can say to them is, ‘Sorry, and good luck in the future.’
“The average age of the team is 26/27 so we still have young players. It is good experience for us to win the trophy now and also last season we learned a lot. As you could see we were more calm, scored a second goal after 87 minutes and we were patient in the game. We did everything to win the game and we deserved it.” – Guardian