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Liverpool winger talks Mo Salah inspiration after record-breaking debut

Liverpool youngster Ben Doak became Scotland under-21s’ youngest-ever scorer when he found the back of the net this week, taking inspiration from Mo Salah.

Doak found the back of the net seven minutes after coming off the bench on his debut on Thursday, helping the Scotland U21s on their way to a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland.

It was the latest milestone goal for the 16-year-old in an impressive start to the season, breaking Billy Gilmour’s international record after following him from Scotland to England.

A £600,000 switch to Liverpool this summer has given Doak the opportunity to prove himself at a higher level, and he is already taking pointers from afar as he watches Salah on and off the pitch.

“I look up to Mo Salah obviously,” he told the Glasgow Times.

“Even if he is not having the greatest of games he always pops up with a goal. His numbers are incredible and speak for themselves.

“I scored against Napoli in the Youth League. It helps that I’ve done really well in the first couple of games. I’ve got all the numbers to back that up as well.

“Even if I am not having a good game, I can just look back to what I have done earlier in the season to keep my confidence up.”

Interestingly, Doak added: “I have not seen the first team too often, but I think that’s deliberate and to make you want to get up there.

“If I saw them all the time it wouldn’t be normal. It should be a privilege to be up there.”

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Ben Doak celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is a real confidence to Doak’s game, and that shines through when he speaks about his performances, while his comments on being kept away from the first-team setup at Kirkby show a reluctance to overexpose him from Liverpool’s staff.

At only 16, there is a long way to go, despite the winger having already debuted at senior level for Celtic, with the time at his new club so far spent with the under-18s.

It is certainly helpful that he has hit the ground running, but Doak explained how he is looking to improve his game beyond goals and assists.

“Six months ago you would never have found me defending whatsoever,” he continued.

“And that’s the difference between making it into a first-team player rather than just a youth player.

“I am trying to turn my all-round game into a strength.”

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Ben Doak (#7) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On his decision to join Liverpool, the Scot said: “I was just trying to think of the best path to go down to get better as a football player.

“But once I went down there to Liverpool and saw the standards and the facilities, it’s top, top level.

“You don’t get any better than where I am at right now. I’m in the best place.”