Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has found an unlikely ally in the shape of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
As boss of the Reds arch rivals, you might not expect the Old Trafford gaffer to be fulsome in his praise of an Anfield idol but speaking on Russia Today, Mourinho described how dangerous a talent Salah is and how the hosts need to be wary of him in their second World Cup match on Monday night.
After injuring his shoulder in a challenge with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, it was feared that Salah might not make it to the finals.
However, he was declared fit to be part of Egypt’s squad for their first appearance in the competition since 1990, although his recovery was not full enough for him to feature in their first game on Friday when they lost 1-0 to Uruguay.
Salah is expected to be back in action against Russia though, who defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the competition.
Mourinho said: “Egypt has, I don’t want to say the fastest, but I have to say, one of the fastest players in the world.
“With the ball, without the ball, he can dribble, he can attack spaces behind defenders.
“Because of this, I think Russia have to drop the block back.
“They have to react better when they lose the ball because they conceded a little bit against a very naïve team, a team without any physical power and Egypt can hurt them.”
Mourinho of course was Chelsea manager when Salah first came to the Premier League in January 2014 – rejecting an approach from Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool.
However, after making just 19 appearances for the Londoners, scoring two goals, he was sent out to Italy on loan, initially to Fiorentina then Roma.