LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is running out of superlatives to describe Mohamed Salah, as the Egyptian netted his first hat-trick for the club in a 5-0 thrashing of Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
Salah continued to write his own Liverpool destiny with four superb finishes in a performance at Anfield that was as complete and ruthless as anything the famous stadium has seen over the decades.
Two of the forward's goals carried the same jinking manner and positional nous synonymous with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, and Klopp noted that Salah's form this season is making comparisons between the two increasingly valid.
"I think Mo is on the way (to being the best in the world)," the German said. "In a way that's good. I don't think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi. But Mo is in a fantastic way, that's for sure. He is doing what he's doing for what feels like 20 years or so.
"The last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona, another Argentinian. If you have the skills, you have to show that constantly. Consistently Mo is very good and he helps us a lot."
Victory moved Klopp's men back above Tottenham into third in the Premier League as they moved a step closer to securing Champions League football next season via a top-four finish.
And not only did Salah score four times to take a commanding lead in the league's Golden Boot race by moving four clear of Harry Kane on 28 goals, he also set up Roberto Firmino for Liverpool's third.
Mohamed Salah is the first player to score four goals from four shots in a Premier League game since Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal at Liverpool in April 2009.
In less than hospitable conditions as swirling snow and a freezing wind blew through the stadium, the Liverpool fans at least had Salah to warm their spirits as he took his tally for an amazing debut season at Liverpool to 34 in all competitions.
"Each game we try to win the three points but, every game, I want to score and help the team," said Salah, who scored with each of his four shots on target.
The frightening thing was he barely broke sweat - his goals dismantled Watford yet he remained relaxed and smiley throughout.
"The goals we scored were unbelievably good, and the boys didn't stop," added Klopp. "That's how football should be, so I'm really happy with the performance.
"Conditions were difficult. It was obviously slippery and everybody suffered, but not Mo in that situation. It was really special."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN