Gary Neville: Salah sees Liverpool as a stepping stone to Madrid
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
He perhaps didn't quite mean it the way many fans will take it, but Gary Neville reckons that Mo Salah sees Liverpool as a 'stepping stone' to what he terms 'bigger clubs'.
It's obvious what he's getting at. Not even Manchester United in their late 90s/early 00s pomp could hold onto the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo when they fancied the bright lights and warm weather of places like Real Madrid.
But Neville reckons that could be part of the reason why Liverpool fans don't quite give him the love he deserves. Which, in itself, is a nonsense statement. Liverpool fans absolutely adore Salah. The only criticism is his occasional greediness and selfishness.
Speaking after the 3-2 win over West Ham last night, the former Utd defender said: "I said 18 months ago I thought Mo Salah would leave Liverpool.
"I think it's a little bit more simple in the sense of why Liverpool fans maybe don't demonstrate that love for Salah, and it's affinity and loyalty.
"I think there's a feeling that he wants to go and play at Real Madrid, he'll go to Barcelona - he'll take the big move. That's not a criticism of Mo Salah.
"I played with David Beckham, I played with Ruud van Nistelrooy, I played with Cristiano Ronaldo - they wanted to aspire to win the Ballon d'Or, they wanted to be at Real Madrid, they wanted to be up in lights and play at the biggest clubs in the world.
"I think there's a feeling: affinity, loyalty, will he leave us? I think he could. I think he is ultimately using Liverpool potentially as a stepping stone for his career. He has aspirations to be [at a club like Madrid or Barca].
"Let's be honest, Real Madrid and Barcelona for a lot of players are the pinnacle."
The idea that either Madrid or Barcelona can offer Salah what Liverpool can right now is actually laughable. The Reds are the best team in the world.
Even at our worst, we only narrowly lost to Atletico Madrid last week. At our best - this season - we've dominated and, ultimately, decimated what was apparently the greatest English team of all time last season at Anfield.
But if Salah does choose to leave, it'll be just that: his decision. No amount of love from the fans or trophies will stop him. And if that is in his mind right now, the club and Jurgen Klopp will have plenty of contingency plans in place for just such an eventuality as that.