Owen: Salah can deliver UCL for Liverpool

Owen: Salah can deliver UCL for Liverpool
Owen: Salah can deliver UCL for Liverpool

The striker played for both clubs and is hugely excited ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final in Kiev
Michael Owen famously missed out on the chance to play for Liverpool in a Champions League final.

“I thought I could do what Ian Rush did,” “I thought I could go over to Spain, see what was what, and then after a year I could come back to Liverpool and carry on doing what I had been doing.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like that. I wish it had, of course, but you don’t always get what you want.”

“It’s a monster of a club,” he says. “Everything about that club screams history and tradition – the stadium, the players, the kit, the supporters. It’s one of the game’s true iconic clubs, known the world over.

“I know people talk about me leaving Liverpool and what happened after that, but I just had to go over there and experience it at Real Madrid. If I hadn’t, I’d have regretted it for the rest of my life.

”The way I see it, there are only a handful of clubs in world football that you can put on a pedestal, that you can feel the aura of as soon as you walk in. Real Madrid are one, Liverpool are another. Those shirts carry weight, you can feel the history. It’s there, every single day, every single game. I felt it at both. I’m so proud to have played for both.”

“The way I see it, it’s such a contrast of styles that I think one has to prevail over the other. I can’t imagine a tight, cagey game where the teams cancel each other out. I think one will blow the other away, and I think we’ll see pretty early who that will be.

“Who do I think it’ll be? I don’t know! I think Liverpool have a really good chance though. They’re a different type of team to Real. They’re younger, maybe more naïve, maybe more hungry.

“Real are the masters of performing on the big stage – you only need to look at the amount of medals their players have won. Never mind Ronaldo, what about Ramos? Or Modric? Marcelo? Benzema? Kroos? These are all serial winners who know exactly what it takes to get the job done, and it’s a big task facing Liverpool.

“But I believe Liverpool have shown they are as good as any team around in a one-off game against one of the big boys. Look at the way they went at Manchester City, they don’t fear anybody and they have the game to take it to anyone. That, for me, makes it a fascinating clash.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised that he’s been such a good signing,” “We knew he had quality and talent. What’s surprised me is the consistency, that he’s managed to sustain his form over the whole season.

“You remember after about 20 games and his goal ratio was decent, and you almost expect a dry spell or a dip, because he’s a player coming into a new league. But he’s just gone on and on and on, if anything he’s got better as the season’s gone on. That’s been so impressive.

“I think he had a point to prove after what happened at Chelsea. But you know when you look at his numbers at Roma, they were pretty impressive. He’s just kicked on another level since coming to Liverpool.

“We knew he had pace and that he could run in behind, but what has impressed me is the way he can use his body to protect the ball. He bounces defenders off him and that’s enabled him to get into more and more scoring positions. He’s not a typical winger, he’s got an all-round game to him.”

“Why not?” he says. “He just has to keep doing what he has been. I shared the Golden Boot in my first season in the Premier League as an 18-year-old, and people wondered whether I’d have to adapt because defenders get wary. But I won the Golden Boot the next season as a 19-year-old. When you have that form and that confidence, you just ride the wave.

“Look, this is the age of information. Every team, every player has all the data on Salah, they have all the stats and the clips and they have all come up with their own plans to stop him. They’ve doubled up on him, they’ve dropped off him, they’ve got tight, they’ve man marked him and tried to show him onto his right foot. And what’s happened? He’s scored 44 goals!

“He’s here to stay, I’m convinced of that. He’ll be at Liverpool next season and scoring goals. He might not get to 40-plus next season, but he won’t be far off. He’s that good a player.”

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