Premier League • England

‘People don’t even realise’ – Chelsea star in awe of Salah; admits he should learn from Liverpool man

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah celebrating after scoring v Aston Villa

Christian Pulisic has expressed his admiration for fellow winger Mohamed Salah, ahead of their potential clash in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool.

Salah has proved one of the Premier League’s best players following his move from Roma in 2017. Not only has he been consistent for the best part of five seasons, he has hit at least 20 goals in each of those.

As a result, he recently hit 150 strikes for the Reds. While he has won two Premier League Golden Boot awards along the way, he is on the way to a third with 19 goals this term – seven more than team-mate and closest challenger Diogo Jota.

Pulisic, meanwhile, has had a mixed career at Chelsea because of injury. His best spell came at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, when the American contributed four goals and four assists in nine league games.

Overall, though, he has faced more competition for minutes amid the depth of Chelsea’s attack.

As a result, Pulisic, 23, told ESPN that he has a lot to learn from Egyptian star Salah.

“He is an incredible player. As far as the Premier League goes this season, he has generally been up there with the best,” Pulisic said.

“There’s definitely a lot to look up to and I can learn from him.

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“He’s a great goal-scorer, really strong, he does a lot of things well that people don’t even realise to get him into position to score these goals. He’s someone I can learn from.”

While Salah is one of the first names on the Liverpool team sheet, Pulisic is battling for game time with the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea enjoyed a strong start to the season and Pulisic netted in the opening Premier League win over Crystal Palace before suffering injury. Since then, he has only scored two more league goals.

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And on the whole, Thomas Tuchel’s Blues have suffered from inconsistency in recent weeks.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are in a rich vein of form. Their last result saw them hit six past Leeds United and they are on a nine-match winning run in all competitions.

Indeed, Pulisic hailed Liverpool’s “high-pressure” system with “physical” and “dangerous” players up front.

Pulisic looking to prove Chelsea worth

Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea

Nevertheless, finals pose a different challenge to a standard run of league games. Pulisic insisted that he wants Chelsea to better their record in showpieces since Tuchel arrive as manager.

However, Pulisic has yet to start a final under the German manager.

He came on in the second half of last season’s Champions League final and FA Cup final. The Blues won the former, but lost to Leicester in the FA Cup.

Thereafter, he came on as a substitute for the injured Ziyech in the Super Cup final against Villarreal in August.

Finally, he was also a first-half substitute in the recent Club World Cup triumph over Palmeiras, replacing the injured Mason Mount.

Pulisic is therefore looking to prove himself at Wembley against Liverpool on Sunday.

He said: “We’ve played in finals before. We’ve won and lost them but it’s about getting in the mindset and being ready to fight because in a final, that’s what they’re for. It’s up for grabs, maybe not always the best football-playing team is going to win.

“It is about grinding, fighting and winning that one-off game. That’s what we are going to do; hopefully we are going to get it done this time.”

Chelsea drew 2-2 with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in January. The other Premier League meeting between the sides this season ended in another stalemate, 1-1, at Anfield.