Mohamed Salah is always going to have a selfish streak, says Emile Heskey, with Diogo Jota and the rest of his Liverpool team-mates needing to make peace with that despite the frustration an Egyptian forward may cause.
Accusations of being self-centred are nothing new for a star turn at Anfield as, throughout his time on Merseyside, Salah has shown that he will always look out for number one.
He is also a vital team player for Jurgen Klopp, helping to deliver Champions League and Premier League crowns, but an insatiable hunger for goals has made the 28-year-old one of world football’s top talents.
Salah has netted 97 times through 156 appearances for Liverpool, with his latest outing seeing him try to nick the ball off Jota’s toe when the Portuguese was better placed to shoot.
Further questions have been asked of whether that narrow mindset is good for squad harmony, but Heskey feels removing it would be detrimental to a player at the peak of his powers.
The former Liverpool striker told Sky Sports of Salah: “I think we all know with Mo, he is always chasing that Golden Boot, he is always wanting to score.
“There are times as an unselfish striker where you’re looking at him and saying ‘why didn’t you pass that ball?’ But this is what you get from top goalscorers, from people that are going to score you 20-25 goals a season.
“They have this relentless drive where they want to take every opportunity, they want to score every chance. They want to take goals off you and you don’t want to take that relentless streak away from them because that’s what makes them.
“That’s what has made him into the winger and the goalscorer that he is. I think he has to keep going and doing what he’s doing.”
Heskey adopted a different philosophy in his heyday, with the former England international cut from the same cloth as Roberto Firmino when it comes to selfless frontmen.
He has no issue with Salah being a predator, though, and believes Jota will learn to accept that he cannot change the ways of a talented team-mate, just as Sadio Mane has on the back of previous in-house squabbles at Anfield.
“You’re not going to be happy with that, you are going to be talking to him at half-time or at the end of the game,” added Heskey.
“But this is something you have to get over on the pitch, you can’t dwell on these things because you have still got a game to play.
“After the game you have got to sit down and discuss these things. That little spat they had with Mane as well last season, they get over it. You shake hands and you move on.”