Is Mohamed Salah the best player in the world? Jamie Carragher has no doubt after the Liverpool forward's stupendous goal at Watford drew immediate comparisons with Lionel Messi. 

Former England striker Gary Lineker compared the wonder strike to a Lionel Messi special after the Egyptian put Jurgen Klopp's Reds 4-0 up at Vicarage Road, on the way to a 5-0 win. 

Salah received the ball on the edge of the Watford penalty area and was surrounded by home defenders, but he showed supreme close control to weave a path beyond Craig Cathcart, Juan Hernandez and Juraj Kucka before whipping a clinical finish into the far corner. 

It was a goal that had the hallmarks of a Messi or Diego Maradona masterpiece, with Salah's astonishing footwork leaving the defenders powerless to stop him extending Liverpool's lead. 

"My, my. Mo has morphed into Messi," Lineker wrote on Twitter. 

The goal means Salah has now scored in each of his past eight games for Liverpool; the longest run of scoring in consecutive appearances for the club since Daniel Sturridge in February 2014, also a run of eight matches. 

Carragher's instant verdict was: "Best player in the world right now." 

The former Liverpool defender's excitement was matched by all-time Reds top scorer Ian Rush, who used an Arabic term of approval to describe Salah's goal. 

"Mashallah @MoSalah The best!" Rush tweeted. 

Alan Shearer, the Premier League's record scorer, described the goal as "brilliant", and Liverpool's own Twitter match commentary enthused about the Salah strike. 

It came two weeks after his majestic goal against Manchester City, with Salah said by some on social media to be putting together his own goal of the season competition. 

The effort was his reward for persistence, with Salah's strike his fifth attempt of the game. It was also his ninth goal in seven games in the Premier League against Watford. 

The flow of goals from Liverpool amounted to dismal news for Watford's new boss, Claudio Ranieri. Roberto Firmino grabbed a hat-trick and Sadio Mane also scored, netting in the Premier League for the 100th time. 

Liverpool tweeted: "Words escape us, but we'll try... Salah shows incredible quick feet to escape the attention of three Watford defenders inside the box, before turning Cathcart and sending a curling effort into the far corner." 

Mohamed Salah is already a Liverpool legend and the Reds must tie the forward down to a new contract whatever the cost, according to Jamie Carragher.

Salah recently became the fastest Liverpool player to 100 top-flight goals, achieving the feat in 151 matches – one game fewer than the late, great Roger Hunt took to reach the landmark.

The Egypt forward also became the 30th different Premier League player to hit a century of goals since the competition began in 1992 as he poked in against Leeds United on September 12.

However, the 29-year-old's future remains in doubt, with his current contract due to expire in 2023 and no signs suggesting a new deal is imminently forthcoming.

Former Reds centre-back Carragher, who made more than 700 appearances for Liverpool, explained in the Telegraph how the situation with Salah needs to be resolved quickly.

"The heartfelt tributes to Roger Hunt following his passing are a reminder that the best footballers are often most appreciated long after they stop playing," Carragher wrote.

"Jurgen Klopp said recently you cannot be called a legend until after retirement. There is a tendency to hesitate before recognising true greatness when it is in front of us, and the bittersweet reality is that sometimes only in death is a player's legacy fully acknowledged. 

"Occasionally, we must take more pleasure from those in the modern era who are so freakishly good, they deserve to be spoken about as reverentially as the greats of the past.

"Mohamed Salah is such a footballer.

"There is no sign that [a new contract] is imminent. Worryingly, it is possible Salah will leave on a Bosman free transfer.

"It would be a serious mistake to let the situation drag on that far.

"I understand it is not as straightforward as saying 'just give the player what he wants' without thoroughly considering the financial consequences. The cash has to come from somewhere.

"It is well documented how Liverpool run their business, and they do not want to set precedents that will cause long-term financial damage by agreeing wages in excess of £400,000-a-week.

"My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception."

Indeed, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alisson, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk have all secured new long-term deals at Anfield.

But Salah remains in wait to seal a new contract with Jurgen Klopp's side and Carragher, who believes the former Roma and Chelsea forward has already achieved legendary status, implored Liverpool to complete negotiations.

"Klopp vowed captain Jordan Henderson's deal would 'get sorted' after a brief stalemate and it immediately was, yet says he is 'not involved' with Salah's negotiations," he continued.

"That seems odd. If there is a sound reason for not resolving the Salah contract situation with the same urgency, it is yet to be satisfactorily explained.

"Whenever we talk about Liverpool's renaissance, we often focus on the influence of Van Dijk and Alisson, taking the team to another level.

"That’s fair, but we should not forget that the foundations were in place because of the immediate impact of Salah, who was already on his way to scoring 44 goals in his first season when Van Dijk signed.

"Twenty-five years from now, fans will examine this era and consider how lucky they were to witness Salah’s goal feats. They will rewatch the videos and see his statistics with a sense of awe.

"I hope they will not look back and ask this: Why on earth did he leave before he had a chance to beat Roger Hunt’s record?"

Ian Rush, John Aldridge and Jamie Carragher were among those to pay tribute to Roger Hunt on Tuesday after he died aged 83.

The former Liverpool and England international passed away on Monday following a long-term illness.

Hunt won the World Cup with England in 1966, playing all six matches and scoring three times. He earned 34 caps for the Three Lions.

He joined Liverpool in 1959, firing 41 goals in 42 games to drag them out of the second tier and into the First Division under the stewardship of Bill Shankly.

The forward managed 285 goals in 492 games for the club, which was a record until Ian Rush surpassed the haul in 1992, but no player has ever scored more league goals for the Reds than Hunt's 244.

And Rush led the tributes to an Anfield legend, posting: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Hunt, someone I would always look up to. He was a fantastic goalscorer and a true gentleman on and off the pitch. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace."

John Aldridge, another Liverpool goalscorer, used to play with Rush up top and he echoed his strike partner's sentiments.

"I'm absolutely gutted to hear of the passing away of one, if not the best LFC [Liverpool] strikers Sir Roger Hunt," Aldridge wrote on Twitter.

"What a striker and a true gentleman, I had the great pleasure of being with him on many occasions. RIP my Nu 1 [number one] legend and hero."

Phil Thompson grew up idolising Hunt before making his debut at Anfield, where he would later become assistant manager, and posted his condolences to social media.

"What an awful day, the passing of my true hero who I'm glad to say became a friend," Thompson said. "A humble man and a legend of the game. RIP Sir Roger."

While ex-Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher added: "RIP Sir Roger Hunt, one of the greatest goalscorers our club has ever seen. Sir Roger along with the other legends from the 60s made LFC the club it is today."

Former club Liverpool, who Hunt enjoyed an 11-and-a-half year spell with, joined a host of names paying tribute to the 83-year-old, posting: "The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool FC are with Roger's family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

While Reds head coach Jurgen Klopp hailed a Kop legend, who "comes second to no-one in his importance in the history of Liverpool FC", FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham promised a fitting tribute for Hunt at England's next home game.

"English football has lost another great with the passing of Roger Hunt," said Bullingham.

"On behalf of the FA, our thoughts are with his family and friends today. Twice a league champion with Liverpool, either side of a memorable FA Cup success in 1965, Roger will always be treasured by fans across the country as one of our World Cup winners of 1966.

"He will forever be remembered at Wembley Stadium and we will pay tribute to his memory before our home fixture with Hungary next month."

Raheem Sterling should be named player of the tournament if England beat Italy to win Euro 2020, according to Jamie Carragher.

With the 26-year-old having rounded off last season with just one goal from his last 16 appearances for Manchester City, it was suggested that his England starting place might be under threat.

However, he has come alive at the tournament, scoring the Three Lions' first three goals of the tournament (two of which were winners), grabbing an assist, and winning the penalty that booked a place in the final.

And former England international Carragher believes those contributions have marked him out as the star man of Euro 2020.

"Nobody has been able to cope with Sterling in this tournament," he told Sky Sports. "If England go on to win he will win player of the tournament – he has been outstanding.

"His position was questioned before the tournament after not having his best season at Man City but from what we have seen Sterling always has to be in this England team.

"The pace he provides, the goals he provides. He has become a major goal threat under Gareth Southgate. 

"We can talk about how Italy can stop him, but if he makes runs in behind the centre-backs and the right full-back then he can be a threat.

"An obvious change at some stage would be Jack Grealish coming on and playing down the left and Sterling going down the right to have a go at Emerson from Chelsea, who has not played a lot of football this season.

"He is the one who can cause Italy some real problems."

 

England have yet to concede an open-play goal at this summer's tournament - thanks in no small part to the work of a midfield shield comprised of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice.

And Carragher thinks their role will be key again in the final if Gareth Southgate's side are to get over the line.

He continued: "Midfield is key for England, if England don’t get the centre of midfield right, that is where they could have a huge problem.

"Italy are really strong through the centre of the pitch – certainly at centre-back and central midfield, there is a lot of onus on England's midfield three in this game. 

"If they perform and can get after the Italians midfield then England have certainly got enough in the attacking areas of the pitch to win the game.

"But midfield is a real strength of Italy so that is where England have really got to get on top and make it difficult, so it will be up to Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Mason Mount in there.

"A lot has been made about the centre-back partnership – outstanding,  legendary players for their country and for Juventus [but] you shouldn’t forget how old they are though.

"I think England can out run them basically in this game, the energy from the bench will be vital as it was in the Denmark game. 

"It will be really tight game – I think we are looking at the best two teams in this tournament, certainly on form, so I think it’s the right final."

 

Fenway Sports Group's (FSG) position at Liverpool may become untenable after their attempt to launch a European Super League, according to club great Jamie Carragher, while Gary Neville believes time is up for the Glazer family at Manchester United.

On Sunday, Liverpool and United, along with Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, along with teams from Spain and Italy, announced their intention to join a breakaway competition, sparking furore across the spectrum.

UEFA responded in force, threatening bans to clubs and players alike, with FIFA offering their support.

Governing bodies and football associations also condemned the move, while supporters gathered outside grounds to protest.

In a remarkable shift, the pressure told on Tuesday, with City formally announcing their withdrawal from the competition. Liverpool and United, along with the other English teams, followed suit.

While it remains to be seen what punishment, if any, will be handed out, Sky Sports pundits Carragher and Neville believe the ownerships of their respective clubs may have run their course.

"I'm as angry at Liverpool now as I was yesterday," Carragher said shortly before Liverpool's confirmation they had left the competition.  

"Jurgen Klopp has thrown them under the bus, their own captain has thrown them under the bus, with the rest of the squad. There's nothing left for Liverpool's owners in what they're doing, what they're hanging on for.

"I actually think the situation with Liverpool's owners now – I don't see how they can continue. They can't just leave the club, obviously, it's a business. It's worth a lot of money if they sell it, but I don't see a future for the ownership of FSG at Liverpool anymore on the back of this, and I think they're just making it worse for themselves the longer they hang in."

Joel and Avram Glazer have long been unpopular with United's fanbase, meanwhile. On Tuesday, it was confirmed Ed Woodward – the club's executive vice-chairman – would be leaving at the end of 2021.

Neville added: "Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree, we now need to go for the roots. [The Glazers] have declared their hand, while they were peacefully sat at the club, never showing their hand.

"They were taking money out of the club, leveraging the club, there's nothing we could do about that once the club became a PLC but they attacked every single football fan in this country with what they did.

"The Glazers have no place in Manchester anymore and we have to work hard to ensure that ownership rules in this country are changed, that we have a system whereby this can not happen, whether it's government intervention, an independent regulator, a fan-owned club rule.

"Whatever it is, we have to make sure that this is a catalyst for change. The people have spoken, we were on the brink of anarchy if this continued. These six sets of owners in this country and the other ones in Europe have misread this situation badly."

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher labelled the Premier League giants "an embarrassment" for electing to join football's new Super League.

The Reds, last season's Premier League champions, are among six teams from England to have signed up for the new competition.

They will be joined by Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, with Spain represented by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and Italy by Juventus, Milan and Inter.

Three further clubs are lined up to become founder members of a competition which could cast doubt on the future of the Champions League.

UEFA and the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A have attacked the idea of the breakaway competition, along with the respective football associations of England, Spain and Italy.

Former Liverpool defender Carragher wrote on Twitter: "What an embarrassment we’ve become @LFC think of all the people who have come before us at this club who would be equally embarrassed as well. #SuperLeague."

FIFA said it could "only express its disapproval" at the move by the powerful clubs, who intend to carry on competing in their respective domestic leagues as well as playing in the Super League.

World football's governing body called for "calm, constructive and balanced dialogue" over the prospect of a split in the game. It was reported late on Sunday that the clubs involved have all left the European Club Association (ECA), which was previously chaired by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli.

Former England captain Gary Lineker suspects conversations will be held that result in less of a rupture than now appears apparent.

Shortly before the 12 clubs made their expected stance official, Lineker wrote: "Looking forward to the compromise with UEFA and the clubs....which, I sense, is what this is all been designed for. A power play."

Liverpool must wave goodbye to any lingering Premier League title hopes if they cannot beat Manchester City on Sunday, according to Reds great Jamie Carragher.

A slump in form from Jurgen Klopp's injury-hit team has seen last season's champions fall seven points behind leaders City, who have a game in hand.

The Anfield clash could yet turn around Liverpool's season if they can rouse themselves back to last season's high standards.

But Carragher is taking a pragmatic view of the title picture, suggesting Liverpool need to stabilise and make sure of a top-four finish.

His verdict follows Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson saying the champions, who sit fourth, are not currently in title contention after Wednesday's 1-0 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.

"Liverpool have to be looking at the top four positions, and to say the obvious, take each game as it comes because the form is so down," Carragher said.

"There are so many changes to the team that you are never quite sure what it's going to be. Alisson was out at the last minute against Brighton and Liverpool are still waiting for players to come back.

"So, I think from now, if you were to offer Liverpool a top-four finish they would take that and shake on it. That should be the mindset for Liverpool because that is what they are aiming for at the moment.

"If they could get back into the title race – and, to do that, they would have to beat City on Sunday – you could maybe see where they are with seven or eight games to go. Hopefully from Liverpool's perspective, City could have some sort of drop."

Liverpool have suffered without Virgil van Dijk, their defensive leader who has been absent since sustaining a knee injury in the derby with Everton on October 17. He is not expected to play again this season.

From the beginning of last season through to that Merseyside derby this term, Van Dijk was ever-present in the league and Liverpool racked up an average of 2.5 points in each match, winning 81.4 per cent of games to end a 30-year wait for an English league title.

But since that Everton draw, the points return has fallen to 1.8 per Premier League game, with the win rate tumbling to 47.1 per cent.

Carragher, who was speaking to Sky Sports' Pitch to Post podcast, described City's form as "out of this world" after Pep Guardiola's men racked up a 13th straight win across all competitions when beating Burnley 2-0 on Wednesday.

That is the longest winning run by a Premier League side since Arsenal also put 13 together in a row between March and August 2002.

But Carragher stressed: "It's impossible to keep that going, City cannot win every single game so I would expect them to drop points at some stage.

"But the problem for Liverpool is that the gap is too big – and it certainly will be if they fail to win at Anfield."

Liverpool slipped to a first league defeat at Anfield since April 2017 as they went down 1-0 to Burnley, leaving Jamie Carragher struggling to explain the Reds' dip in form.

Ashley Barnes' late penalty settled a contest which Liverpool dominated on Thursday, ending a 68-game unbeaten run at home in the league for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Liverpool had 71.9 per cent possession and 27 attempts – with six on target – yet could find no way through to goal for the fourth Premier League match in succession.

The Reds have had a total of 87 shots since Sadio Mane's opener in a 1-1 draw with West Brom on December 27, and their tally of efforts on Thursday is the most they have had in a single league match without finding the net since April 2013 and most at Anfield since April 2012.

Their last league win was a 7-0 thumping of Crystal Palace prior to Christmas, and Liverpool are now six points adrift of league leaders Manchester United, while they have also played a game more than second-placed Manchester City.

It is a situation which has left former Anfield stalwart Carragher puzzled.

"We were talking about a blip for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp has come out and defended his players as you would expect because these players have done so much for Liverpool," the Sky Sports pundit said.

"I think they have got to get back to scoring goals and winning games before they start thinking about someone taking the title off them. They have just been so poor. You cannot quite believe what has happened to Liverpool in the last few weeks."

However, Carragher also fears that Liverpool could become embroiled in a battle for Champions League qualification, never mind their chances of retaining their crown.

"At this moment it looks like the title is slipping away," Carragher added. 

"Six points can still be recovered but the form Liverpool are in and the fixtures they have in the coming months, I think Liverpool fans will be worrying a little more about their top-four position than the title.

"You go from that 7-0 win at Palace to so many players out of form at the same time. It is his job to fix it – whether that is formations, personnel, however they go about it – but there are so many teams challenging for that top four it will be a worry for Liverpool until they get out of this little run that they are on."

Liverpool sit fourth on 34 points, having played a game more than fifth-placed Tottenham and two more than sixth-placed Everton, while West Ham are also only two points behind.

Chelsea and Southampton are also within touching distance, while Arsenal have propelled themselves up the table and Aston Villa have three games in hand.

Jamie Carragher has criticised Liverpool's performance after a 1-0 away loss to Southampton continued their recent slump.

The Premier League champions went down to defeat courtesy of an early goal from their former striker Danny Ings on Monday.

Liverpool had drawn their previous two games against West Brom and Newcastle United, while they also recently dropped points against Brighton and Hove Albion and Fulham.

Manager Klopp felt the Southampton defeat was down to an early mistake by Trent Alexander-Arnold and a failure to award his side penalties.

But Carragher was baffled to see Liverpool not bombarding the Southampton goal in the latter stages.

Aside from their 7-0 win over Crystal Palace, the former Reds defender has been concerned by their lack of creativity, particularly away from home.

"The big worry is where are the goals and creation coming from, because it has been non-existent," Carragher said on Sky Sports.

"This Liverpool team is amazing but it is going through one of its first real rough patches it has been through in the past two seasons.

"I did not see that coming, I expected a reaction from Liverpool on the back of two really poor performances. We have just seen another one."

LACK OF SHOTS ON TARGET

Fraser Forster – who kept his first top-flight clean sheet in over three years - made a save from Sadio Mane in the 75th minute in what proved to be Liverpool's only shot on target.

That was also their longest wait for an attempt on target in a Premier League match since December 2015. 

Klopp's men have failed to score in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since May 2018, having found the net in each of their 21 previous outings.

Opta data shows that after having eight attempts on target in the astonishing win over Palace, Liverpool have mustered just seven across their last three Premier League matches.

Carragher added: "Liverpool's away form this season is so poor. 

"When it comes to chances created, they have not looked like scoring. Did Fraser Forster have to make a good save, a big save? Did anyone miss a real chance where they had to score?

"That is a really big worry for Liverpool at the moment, in terms of what they are creating away from home. It is nowhere near enough.

"If you take that Aston Villa result out, Liverpool have done quite well defensively and that is quite worrying.

"At times I watch them and think where is the goal coming from.

"The big problem for me, if you go back to the last game against Newcastle, yes, [Mohamed] Salah missed chances and Mane missed chances, but if they don't score then who else is going to score?

"Take out the Crystal Palace game and nobody else has scored away from home for Liverpool who was available. The other one is Diogo Jota who scored against Brighton."

MIDFIELD STRUGGLES TO CREATE

Starting midfielders Thiago Alcantara, Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combined for just one created chance.

When it comes to chances created from open play per 90 minutes this season, Liverpool only have two players in the Premier League's top 30 - forwards Salah (1.67, 12th) and Mane (1.55, 18th).

Aston Villa standout Jack Grealish (3.13), Manchester United attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes (2.97) and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne (2.50) lead the statistical category. 

"There was the freak result against Crystal Palace but look at chances created from open play," continued Carragher.

"Last season's average was 10 from open play. But they are not creating what you would associate with a top team this season.

"Look at the average chances created from open play away from home [7.8 this season] and they are down in seventh.

"When you are a top team like Liverpool you should be in the top two or three for everything offensively."

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