Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola insists Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has lost none of his goal-scoring prowess, but the Manchester City boss claims the Egyptian must repeat last season’s prodigious feats before he can match 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.
“Sergio has scored a lot of goals but there were periods when he didn’t score goals.
“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.”
Another City forward, Raheem Sterling, should be involved at Anfield despite Guardiola having left him out of one of the two trips to Liverpool last season.
Sterling, a former Liverpool player, was given a torrid reception from his former club’s supporters who were unimpressed at the manner of his leaving Merseyside.
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But Guardiola believes that coping in the face of such adversity is part of the 23-year-old’s learning curve.
“He has played against Liverpool at Anfield before,” said Guardiola. “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.