Cristiano Ronaldo consoles Mohamed Salah as the Egyptian goes off injured in the 2018 Champions League final. Real beat Liverpool 3-1.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah will go head to head for the right to be billed as the Premier League’s top dog when Manchester United face arch-rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked irking United striker Ronaldo ahead of the crunch clash when he hailed Salah as the best player in the world last weekend.
But Ronaldo hasn’t been far behind with a series of crucial goals underlining his superstar status.
So who will be this season’s preeminent force?
Without a win in their last three league games, United are four points behind second-placed Liverpool.
Salah has scored 12 times in 11 games this season, with Ronaldo netting six times in eight matches since returning to United from Juventus in August.
Just 24 hours later, Ronaldo stole the European spotlight with the late headed winner that completed United’s fightback from two goals down to beat Atalanta 3-2.
But he admitted Salah’s red-hot run makes him a fearsome proposition.
“We know we have to be at our best to defend against him. We have to focus on them for 95 minutes to keep a clean sheet.
– True greatness –
“Why should we compare Cristiano Ronaldo and Mo Salah? Obviously both are world-class players, so that’s how it is,” he said.
“Maybe then Cristiano in the air is slightly better and the right foot is probably better.
It is the ability to propel a team to silverware that defines true greatness and, on that front, Ronaldo has the edge, for now.
Salah has one Champions League crown, but Ronaldo has lifted Europe’s elite club prize five times.
Liverpool will surely have to bow to the 29-year-old’s demands, given he has scored 137 goals in 214 games for the club since joining from Roma in 2017.
The 36-year-old has amassed 124 goals in 300 United appearances over his two spells with the club.
However, Klopp believes Salah has the right character to stay at the top for years to come.
“He’s constantly interested in all the different things he has to do to improve. He has still a lot to give, 100 percent.”
Originally published as Ronaldo’s duel with Salah takes centre stage as Man Utd face Liverpool