For a brief spell, Micah Richards and Mohamed Salah were team-mates at Fiorentina, and the now-pundit has revealed talks about wanting to be “a star for Liverpool.”
Richards joined Fiorentina on a season-long loan from Man City in 2014, with Salah arriving in Florence on a six-month deal midway through the campaign.
The pair struck up a perhaps unlikely bond, before going their separate ways in the summer of 2015 as Richards headed to Aston Villa while Salah swapped Fiorentina for Roma in a star-making transfer.
Their careers have diverged in the years since, and Liverpool’s No. 11 finds himself among the best players in world football, with his club hoping to tie him down to a new long-term contract.
Salah’s current deal expires in 2023, with fears among fans that he could opt to leave for an oil-rich club such as Paris Saint-Germain.
But a story from Richards, in his column for the Mail, suggests the 29-year-old will be happy to stay at Anfield for the rest of his career, provided his ambitions are satisfied.
“I had the pleasure of playing with Mo for six months in Florence in 2015,” Richards recalled.
“And he used to tell me on the afternoons we would go out for coffee of his ambition to be a star for Liverpool.
“They were the team he always watched.”
Richards explained how Salah was “frustrated with himself” when he joined Fiorentina on loan from Chelsea, adding that “it was always in his mind that he would go back to England to show everyone what he could do.”
“He was just the most humble and considerate guy you could wish to meet,” he continued.
“But he was always thinking how he could improve, looking for the gains that would transform him.”
The 33-year-old pundit argued that Salah is “still not too sure he gets the credit he is due,” speculating that his low profile and status as an Egypt international – rather than a major nation in Europe – could be factors behind this.
“I can’t see this any clearer: Mo is the best wide forward in the world,” Richards insisted.
“He is absolutely outstanding, he’s enhanced the role that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery made their own with a goal record that puts many of the top No. 9s in Europe in the shade.”
And while Richards is unlikely to be privy to any inside information from Salah with regards to decisions over his future – just as Dejan Lovren isn’t – he is convinced he will stay.
“Liverpool were made for Mo and Mo was made for Liverpool,” he concluded. “Together they can be an unstoppable force.”