Mohamed Salah may have written his name into the Liverpool history books after an incredible four-season spell at Anfield.
But club legend Michael Owen has surprisingly claimed he would rather have Luis Suarez in his prime over the Egyptian — much to the annoyance of Rio Ferdinand.
Salah broke Roger Hunt’s long-standing record after becoming the fastest Reds player to reach the milestone of 100 league goals in just 151 games.
The 29-year-old is arguably in the finest form in his career after scoring seven goals in eight league matches this season, including sensational solo strikes against Manchester City and Watford.
Those goals led Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to hail Salah as the “best player in the world right now”, arguing that his exploits on the pitch put him above the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
But for Owen, the forward still has some way to go to match the performance levels set by Luis Suarez during the 2013-14 campaign when Liverpool narrowly missed out on the title.
The Uruguayan hit 31 goals that season under Brendan Rodgers and was named the PFA Player of the Year, despite a series of on-pitch controversies. He then joined Barcelona for £75m in August 2014.
Owen and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, both working as pundits for BT Sport, were asked by presenter Jake Humphrey whether they would pick Suarez in his prime or Salah now for one season if they had the choice.
Ferdinand was clear in his belief that Salah’s collective and individual achievements put him above Suarez, who only spent three-and-a-half seasons in Liverpool.
"I'd take Mo Salah, what he's done the last four seasons, top goalscorer in each of them, top goalscorer again for Liverpool this season, I just think he's immense,” he said.
"The icing on the cake for me - over the consistency - [is] he's been part of a team that wins big trophies and he's been integral in that. He's won the Premier League, he's won the Champions League.
"He is for me an absolute joy to watch but an absolute assassin when the balls in the box.”
But Owen sparked an enticing — and heated — debate when he backed Suarez over Salah, despite the fact the latter broke the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season with 32.
Who has contributed more for Liverpool: Salah or Suarez? Comment below.
"The answer in my opinion, the season that Luis Suarez played under Brendan Rodgers [in 2013/14], I've never seen anything like it in my life," he said.
But Ferdinand was having none of it, underlining that Salah’s efforts to lead the team with his goals and playmaking efforts demonstrates his importance.
”It's who plays really well, who scores the goals, who shoots their team to winning the league.
"There's far more pressure on someone who's at the top of the league, fighting to win the top trophies, I'm not saying it's any easier, I'm just saying it's the pressure that is amplified.
"He [Salah] is doing that every single season in this league.”
The debate raged on as Owen continued to fight the 35-year-old’s corner, adding: ”But he [Suarez] was doing that as well, they were one slip away from winning the league that season. He was at the sharp end of the game.”
Ferdinand took the factual route, doubling down on how Salah’s goals equalled trophies: "But he didn't shoot them to win the league. This guy did, and he won them the Champions League!”
Owen could not resist getting the last word in and used the precise wording of Humphrey’s question to cast doubt over Ferdinand’s reasoning for selecting Salah.
"We're splitting hairs in terms of how good they are as players,” he said.
“Salah’s been doing it for four years now, he is one of the greatest players in the world at the minute.
"But your question was in a one-off season, that one that Suarez had or any of the four that Salah's had. For me, there's no comparison."
There is a no right or wrong answer to the question, as is often made clear in debates.
But in Liverpool fans’ minds, there is only one name they sing at the Kop end on matchdays — and it isn’t Suarez’s anymore.Read More Read More