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Transfer Rater: Mo Salah to Real Madrid

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mohamed Salah: Anfield visit with Chelsea sparked Liverpool dreams

Gab Marcotti presents his starting XI for the best Premier League players by their respective positions.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has revealed his ambition to play for the club was fuelled after he first visited Anfield to play for Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Salah scored his 20th goal for the club in all competitions in 4-0 win at Bournemouth on Sunday, just four months after his debut for Jurgen Klopp's side following his £34 million summer move from Roma.

Half of those goals have come at Anfield, and the 25-year-old told the club's official website that it was during a visit to Merseyside in 2014 in one of his first games as a Chelsea player that his hopes of playing in front of The Kop as a home player flourished.

"There was interest from Liverpool when I went to Chelsea [from Basel in January 2014], but I think if I'd come at that time maybe things wouldn't have maybe have gone as well then as they have for me now," he said. "Who knows? But I went to Chelsea and everything worked out how it did and now I am here at Liverpool at the right time.

"When I go somewhere, I am always telling myself 'I have to learn from here' -- and I know, 100 per cent, I learned a lot from Chelsea; I learned how to be more professional and to become a better person and player. It was a big step in my career and I had a good relationship with the players there -- and you could see that when we played them at Anfield recently.

"It was while I was at Chelsea that I first got to play at Anfield. I can remember I told myself -- as I said on my very first day here -- 'I have to come here one day and play' after I'd experienced that atmosphere.

"That atmosphere was unbelievable, really. I was very happy to play here against Liverpool -- and now I am even happier to play for Liverpool here."

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah has scored 20 goals for Liverpool in all competitions after just 26 appearances.

Salah had a difficult time at Stamford Bridge, starting only six Premier League matches before loan spells in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma. After the latter became a permanent move in 2016, the Egypt international scored 15 Serie A goals last season to earn the move back to England that he craved.

"I had a good four months at Fiorentina and it was a good time for me and us as a team," he said. "I did well and we performed well in the Europa League and Serie A. Before I went there, it was very clear in my mind: I deserve to play. I had belief in my ability and I was going to Fiorentina to show everyone my football and what I could do.

"Then I had a great two years in Rome and I was very, very happy there. Roma is not an easy place to play, it's not easy at home -- there is a lot of pressure there and it's different. I cannot explain it, but inside you feel it is different to any other club. Everything is amazing there, though -- the club is good, the fans are unbelievable and I had a great relationship with them because they always showed me love and respect.

"I'd said to myself, 'I want to come back to England.' It was always in my mind, coming back here. I wanted to play here and show everyone my football. When I realised I was very close to coming here, I was very, very happy -- and after speaking to the boss for the first time after the deal was agreed, I was even happier.

Mohamed Salah's first Premier League came with Chelsea, but he made just 19 appearances for the Blues.

"Why were Liverpool the right club for me? Because of many things. I even used to play as Liverpool on the PlayStation on FIFA when I was 18 or 19, as Steven Gerrard, Sami Hyypia, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and Xabi Alonso. I also remembered that atmosphere again and it came into my mind.

"The way we play here is different to Rome, which is why I think I took one, two or three weeks to adapt. But ultimately, I think it has worked out well and we are working together well -- but we need to win many games to be in a better position.

"The players are very nice, very close to me and everything is fine. We talk to each other, we have good times, all of them are humble and that's what makes me better and better and better. It's not about anything else, it's about the atmosphere in the club and being close to the players and the coach."

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