Arsenal defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has lavished praise on Liverpool winger Mo Salah.
Asked by Rio Ferdinand on his FIVE Youtube channel which player is the toughest opponent he has ever faced, Zinchenko had no hesitation in saying that it is the Egyptian international:
“I think it’s Salah, I think it’s Salah. With all my respect to the rest, to Riyad [Mahrez] as well because I played against when he was at Leicester [City]. He’s [Salah] an absolutely explosive and unstoppable winger.”
As Zinchenko says, he has been up against the very best that the Premier League has had to offer, including Bukayo Saka, who is now his teammate at Arsenal, but Salah is the one he chose.
One of the key examples that Zinchenko gave is how Liverpool manage to create overloads so that Salah has time and space on the ball.
In a Community Shield game for Manchester City a few years back, Zinchenko had so much trouble with Salah that he had to ask then-assistant head coach Mikel Arteta for advice:
“He said, ‘the only one way is to ask Raz [Sterling] who was playing on the left, to come to drop a bit lower to leave Trent [Alexander-Arnold]’. If you stay with Salah then it’s a big gap for [Georginio] Wijnaldum. And when Mohamed is receiving the ball at his feet and he gets the pace, it’s impossible, impossible.”
Salah will be hoping to cause havoc when facing Premier League fullbacks once again this season
With Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane now having both left Anfield, Salah is the last one standing of the famed front three, but his powers have yet to wane despite reaching the final stretch of his career.
The 31-year-old has looked very sharp in pre-season and he will be keen to improve on the 19 goals that he managed in the league last campaign.