Pep Guardiola insists Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has lost none of his goal-scoring prowess, but maintains he is still not up to Manchester City goal machine Sergio Aguero.
City forward Aguero, the club’s all-time record scorer, has opened the new campaign in predictable fashion, scoring eight times in 10 games already this season.
Liverpool winger Salah has made a more modest start to 2018-19, certainly in comparison to last season’s 44-goal campaign, with just three goals to date.
And, while Guardiola has no doubt that Salah remains a lethal threat, the City manager believes the Egypt star must score prolifically over a period of multiple years to match Aguero’s achievements.
“He (Salah) is younger and it was his first year back in England since his time at Chelsea, so we will see in the future,” said Guardiola, talking ahead of City’s visit to Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
“But a guy who has the quality to score 50 goals in a season always has that quality. But football is all about ups and downs.
“Salah remains an excellent player and will score goals in the future. When you are in there scenting goals sometimes this happens.
“How many years has Sergio scored all those goals, eight or nine years? For Salah it was the first one so we will see in seven or eight years.”
Guardiola also assured that Raheem Sterling – left out of the two trips to Anfield last season – has a point to prove in today’s top-of-the-table clash.
“He has played against Liverpool at Anfield before,” said Guardiola of the former Liverpool star.
“He didn’t start last season for the first time but that was for a tactical reason.
“I don’t think about him differently for this game because he’s a former Liverpool player. Maybe it’s affected him before, maybe it hasn’t. I don’t know because we haven’t spoken about it.
“But even if that’s happened because he was so young, he has to learn. Hopefully he will be here for a long time with us, so he will go many times to Anfield. That’s normal.”
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have emerged as the most potent challengers to City’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title, a fact not lost on Guardiola.
“Liverpool were an excellent team last season and since then they have bought some more incredible players to fight against us,” he added.