Salah and Liverpool will have nothing but revenge on their minds!
The football world was still rubbing their collective eyes when Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah opened up the Twitter app on his phone on Wednesday night.
With Real Madrid deep in the throes in celebration at the most remarkable and unlikely of comebacks – even for them this season – against Manchester City, thoughts started to drift towards the final of the Champions League on May 28.
Salah’s were, at least. The Liverpool forward wasted absolutely no time sending out a pointed, less-than-veiled message to the side who broke his heart and his shoulder during a tear-soaked evening in Kiev four years ago.
“We have a score to settle”
He posted with accompanying pictures of Tuesday night’s 3-2 win in Villarreal that booked Liverpool’s place in the Paris showpiece later this month. The implication was crystal clear.
It was the final of European football’s biggest competition in 2018 when Salah’s season-from-the-Gods ended in soul-crushing fashion on the pitch of the NSC Olimpiyskiy.
After rattling in 44 goals to help fire the Reds to their first Champions League final in 11 years, Salah’s biggest-scoring campaign of his career was cruelly ended by Sergio Ramos’ skullduggery.
The then Madrid captain, Ramos, indulged in a spot of prime skullduggery when he wrestled Salah dangerously to the ground with a sort of move that would have had nodding approvals from the WWE champion.
The Judo-style takedown was enough to injure Salah and ensure that his evening lasted no longer than 30 minutes. Withdrawn for Adam Lallana, the tears that followed were a sad end to what had been a wondrous maiden season at Anfield.
It was an injury that lingered and he went to the World Cup with Egypt later that summer, clearly still feeling the problems in the shoulder. An unfit Salah was unable to give a true representation of himself in Russia as the Pharaohs bowed out in the group stages. It was not how he would have envisioned his summer panning out when he looked ahead to a Champions League final and a World Cup in May.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Liverpool in Kiev
For Liverpool as a whole, the game only got increasingly difficult to comprehend as it went on too. Unable to rouse themselves after their Salah setback, they conceded in the most perplexing, astonishing and bizarre of circumstances when Loris Karius’ attempt to roll the ball out was intercepted by the wily Karim Benzema.
If the concession of their first was unbelievable, so was their second for wildly different reasons. After Sadio Mane had leveled with his 20th of the season, Gareth Bale scored one of the most outrageous goals in Champions League final history to make it 2-1. The overhead past Karius was a jaw-dropping effort worthy of winning the biggest fixture in club football.
But that would not be the goal that sealed it. Instead, it was another Karius error that was the final nail in the coffin for Liverpool. Bale’s speculative effort from long range should have been dealt with but the German goalkeeper let it slip through his fingers and Zinedine Zidane’s side were champions of Europe.
It was a disappointing end to Liverpool’s season but Jurgen Klopp knew this was just the start. Liverpool’s tears would not be the only watershed moments for the Reds that night.
No, this defeat would prove to be the experience that would guide them towards the success that has followed. Later that night, Klopp would be captured on video, singing with Campino, the lead singer of German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen.
It’s believed the video was taken in his Merseyside home at around 5 AM. The message was clear: This Liverpool was just warming up.
Four years later, they are back in the Champions League final – their third under Klopp – and like Salah suggests, there is a score to settle in Paris.