Mohamed Salah is capable of becoming a Liverpool legend, says Robbie Fowler, but he will only enjoy such a standing if he remains at Anfield for several years.
The Egyptian forward is into his second season on Merseyside, having taken in a remarkable first.
Countless individual prizes were collected during the 2017-18 campaign as a £36.9 million ($47m) bargain delivered 44 goals across all competitions.
The 26-year-old has, however, been told by a man fondly known as ‘God’ by Reds fans that, like Luis Suarez before him, he will need to stick around in order to become a true icon.
Former Liverpool striker Fowler told The Mirror: “I’m not shy in saying that I believe if Mo Salah stays with the club long term, then he has already shown the qualities to suggest he has a real shot of joining those ranks of the true legends.
“I’ve played with the best at Liverpool, the likes of [Ian] Rush and [John] Barnes, [Steven] Gerrard and [Steve] McManaman, so I reckon I know a thing or two about what it takes. Salah has similar qualities, no doubt.
“You saw this last season and you’ve seen it again this time around. Napoli was a brilliant example where he was the difference. So often he scores the first goal in a tight game, or the winning goal. It’s not a coincidence.
“People have asked what he is... but he is just a real player.”
Fowler added: “Salah has shown already that he’s not a one-season wonder. But I’m something of a stickler for longevity when it comes to greatness.
“People go on about Luis Suarez, and no doubt he was a top player for the club, but one of their all-time best? Not a chance — because he was only there for three and a bit seasons. It also leaves a bad taste in the mouth the way he left the club, by so obviously engineering a move, not once but twice.
“I don’t think he qualifies at all.
“Which is my way of saying Salah has to stay for a lot longer and keep producing the form and goals he’s got so far, if he is ever going to be considered on a par with the likes of Rushie, who for me is the best striker of them all.
“I’m not even going to remotely compare him to Rush or the others in the top six goal-scorers. Why? Not because I don’t rate him, but because I’m waiting. For at least another five years, I reckon.
“He’s already got almost 60 goals for Liverpool and there’s a good chance he’ll go past Suarez and Fernando Torres this season on the all-time list. Those two got 82 and 81 respectively, and that’s not enough in terms of years or numbers.”
Salah has managed 57 Liverpool goals in just 76 appearances, but that return leaves him some way short of matching Fowler’s haul of 183.