Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah admits he always had a drive to return to the Premier League to prove his critics wrong and now hopes the season will have a special end to it.
The Egypt international arrived from Roma last summer with many critics questioning his signing on the basis of 12 unsuccessful months at Chelsea three years previously.
However, having won the Premier League Golden Boot by setting a new record of 32 goals in a season, Salah silenced his doubters and hopes to sign off with victory in the Champions League final against Real Madrid later this month.
“It was always on my mind to perform the best I can,” he told easports.com.
“I had two great seasons in Rome but it was always on my mind to come back to the Premier League to show the people who said I didn’t succeed here the first time and prove that I can be a success in the Premier League.”
Manager Jurgen Klopp’s influence – and his tactics – helped Salah hit the ground running and the 25-year-old recognises the input the German has had.
“You know, before everything we are friends. I like him a lot,” added the Egyptian, who is looking to add to his 44 goals this season against Real Madrid.
“He has helped me a lot to do what I’m doing on the field and off it.
“I have to thank him for everything he has done this year. I really respect him a lot and I’m sure we are going to do something special for the club this year to end it.”
Defender Virgil van Dijk has urged the team to be brave against the Champions League holders when they meet on May 26 in Ukraine.
“We need to be going to Kiev with a lot of confidence,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
âWe need to be going to Kiev with a lot of confidence. Weâre not there for no reason. We deserve to be there."— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 15, 2018
Van Dijk wants #LFC to cap off a 'great season' by making the most of a @ChampionsLeague final he has no doubt they deserve to be in: https://t.co/iCYocUrSlI pic.twitter.com/z0KVdc4k4a
“We know they have so much quality. But we don’t need to forget that we have so much quality as well.
“We’re not there for no reason. We deserve to be there, so we need to show that, be brave and do our thing. Then we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Midfielder Emre Can’s chances of being fit for the Champions League final look remote as the back injury which has kept him out since March has cost him a place in Germany’s World Cup squad.
The 24-year-old could have played his last match for the club as his contract expires next month and speculation has continually linked him with a move away.