The Football Writers’ Association will announce the 2018 Footballer of the Year on May 1 – and in a game of opinions, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels Mohamed Salah would be a deserved choice.
The prestigious FWA accolade was first presented in 1948 to Stanley Matthews and is decided from a ballot of the association’s now 400-strong membership.
The league champions have often seen one of their key men named as the recipient, with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante having collected last season’s FWA award.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be well supported among FWA members across the country having helped drive Pep Guardiola’s men on to an impressive title triumph with five games to spare.
Reds boss Klopp, though, is in no doubt of just how highly Salah’s achievements this season should see his forward regarded.
The Egyptian, who struggled to make an impact during his first spell in England at Chelsea, has helped spearhead Liverpool’s push towards a potential place in the Champions League final and stands on the verge of another personal landmark with 31 Premier League goals so far.
“If you think he’s the best in the world, write it or say it. He is in outstandingly good shape, in world-class shape, 100 per cent. That’s good,” Klopp said after Salah’s double had helped Liverpool to beat former club Roma 5-2 in the first leg of their European semi-final at Anfield.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period, I think. There are a few others who are not too bad.
“He is a fantastic player and I am really happy to have him.”
Salah, 25, collected the 2017-18 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year trophy, finishing ahead of Kevin De Bruyne and Tottenham forward Harry Kane in the vote of their peers.
City boss Guardiola was left less than impressed at his midfielder being overlooked, believing De Bruyne had proved himself the outstanding footballer of the campaign.
“From my point of view, when you are analysing nine, 10 months, there was no player better than him (De Bruyne),” Guardiola said.
“Maybe there are guys with numbers better than him, but, for me, in the team that wins (the title) with five games to go, he was the best.
“I would like to feel he deserves it, but in the end, in the summer time, he will be at home being (a) champion.”
The FWA will honour the 2018 Footballer of the Year at a gala dinner in London on May 10.
Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby was last week announced as the recipient of the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award, which will be presented during the same event.