Antonio Rudiger admits Mohamed Salah is the best player plying his trade in the Premier League at the moment.
The Chelsea defender is set for a reunion with his former Roma teammate when Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
It marks a key contest in the fight for a top-four finish, with the Reds realistically in need of just one more win to seal Champions League qualification given their superior goal difference to the London-club.
Rudiger has spared praise for Salah’s teammates whilst explaining his old companion’s vast improvement since his Roma days.
“He was already good at Roma, but there sometimes he [missed] some chances,” he told ESPN.
“But this year he is very, very clinical. Also, I think he is physically more strong than he was in Rome.”
“Salah is at the moment, for me, the best player in the league, but it is not only him that plays for Liverpool. It is [Roberto] Firmino, also [Sadio] Mane and the guys at the back. They have a good team, a great team, scoring a lot of goals.”
Salah is well-motivated heading into a meeting with a club that gave up on his potential three years ago, boosted by the individual objective of reaching 32 Premier League goals and breaking the record for the highest-tally in a 38-game season.
He is now also only four away from equalling Ian Rush’s remarkable tally of 47 in the 1983/1984 season, with two league games and a Champions League final still to play.
Chelsea’s use of wing-backs could entail an intriguing duel between Rudiger and Salah on Liverpool’s right-hand side.
The German defender is evidently aware he could have his work cut out, though, given his recognition of the role Firmino and Mane have played in leading one of Europe’s most deadly strike forces.