Premier League • England

Mohamed Salah easily names preferred Liverpool CL final opponents and reveals big 40-goal target

Mohamed Salah, Fabinho Villarreal v Liverpool May 2022

Mohamed Salah says that he would rather Liverpool played Real Madrid than Manchester City in the Champions League final later this month.

The Reds booked their place in the Paris showpiece after showing resilience and character to finish Villarreal off. Liverpool took a 2-0 lead to Spain following the first leg. However, they were undone in the first half of Tuesday’s second leg.

Indeed, Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin made it 2-0 to Villarreal and 2-2 on aggregate.

But, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho struck the all-important first goal of the second half to put the visitors back in front. And from there, substitute Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane finished Villarreal off.

As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s men will play either Real Madrid or Manchester City in the final at the Stade de France.

Madrid fought back from 3-1 down to lose 4-3 at the Etihad last Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s second leg. And Salah has insisted that he would rather play the Spaniards.

“I want to play Madrid, I have to be honest,” the Egyptian told BT Sport.

“City is a really tough team, we played against them a few times this season.

“I think personally, I would prefer Madrid. We lost in the final to them so I want to play against them and hopefully win it.”

Liverpool must remember Salah truth as contract saga rumbles on

Liverpool must remember that no player is bigger than the club, even amid the clamour for Mohamed Salah to sign a new contract.

Liverpool and Madrid have recent history in the Champions League following the 2018 final between the teams.

Salah came off in the first half due to a shoulder injury, with Gareth Bale’s overhead kick the key highlight in Madrid’s 3-1 win.

That season, Salah hit 44 goals in all competitions and he has reached 30 this term. However, he has revealed that he set a target of 40 goals and 15 assists for this campaign.

Salah wants more Liverpool goals

James Milner, Mohamed Salah Liverpool v Villarreal April 2022

“Always at the start of the season, I set targets,” the 29-year-old added. “I know what I want as an individual and collectively. That way I know how my season is going.”

Asked by Rio Ferdinand if his current tally of 30 goals and 15 assists is below expectations, Salah said: ” Oh below. Yeah, I have big expectations for myself.

“Honestly, I’ve never said this but before the season started, I go for 40 goals this season and 15 assists.

“I need to focus on the goals now! Trent [Alexander-Arnold] is going to be angry that I have the highest assists in the Premier League, but I’m going to go for everything.”

Liverpool’s star man shines again

Salah enjoyed electric form at the start of the season and scored in nine of the first 12 Premier League games.

That run featured a hat-trick away at Manchester United and his iconic goal against Man City at Anfield.

However, his goals have somewhat dried up following Egypt’s gruelling run to the Africa Cup of Nations final in February.

Despite that, though, he has continued to supply crucial assists, such as the one for Fabinho against Villarreal.

As such, even if he does not reach his 40-goal tally before the end of May, Salah can look back on another strong season at Anfield.