Pep Lijnders reveals how Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool without being captain

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has urged fans to 'cherish' Mohamed Salah, calling the Reds' number 11 a 'mentor' and 'leader'.

Salah, who is Liverpool's record Premier League goalscorer, has enjoyed a fine start to the 2023/24 season, registering four goals and four assists to date.

The 31-year-old also recently became only the eighth player in Premier League history to hit 200 goal involvements with one club, while he is on a streak of at least a goal or assist in each of his last 12 league games.

Salah's form is particularly noteworthy given his future was the topic of much debate as recently as the start of this month.

Liverpool rejected a bid worth up to £150m from Al Ittihad, while it is expected that the Saudi Pro League will continue to pursue the Egyptian, whose contract runs until 2025, in future transfer windows.

While some fans and commentators have predicted that we may be at the beginning of the end of Salah's reign at Liverpool, Lijnders hailed the star's work ethic and leadership as exemplary.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Leicester, Lijnders said: "He's breaking record after record. He's a mentor, a leader. I see him in the gym, I see him coming in early. I see a real professional and a man who can lead this team without being the captain. It's special that he's with us. We should cherish these players."

Lijnders also revealed a conversation he had with Salah about the forward's 'smile'.

He added: “Mo is just an excellent, excellent person. I spoke yesterday with him and I said, 'I love it when you smile, Mo.' Because when he smiles in the building and outside, I know that the ball will smile as well and he will decide the games for us. That's quite important."

With 190 goals in 312 games in all competitions, Salah sits fifth on Liverpool's list of all-time top scorers and is currently the 14th highest Premier League scorer in history.

He is, however, likely to start on the bench for Liverpool's game against Leicester on Wednesday, with one eye on the trip to Tottenham in the Premier League this Saturday.

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