'He's more ruthless now' - Salah's rise a shock for former team-mate Cole

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The Liverpool striker has grown into one of the leading players of the game across the globe since his time ended at Stamford Bridge

Ashley Cole had admitted that he did not anticipate former Chelsea team-mate Mohamed Salah flourishing into one of the best footballers in the world.

The Liverpool striker has been a consistent highlight of the Premier League in recent seasons after returning to the English top flight with the Reds.

He helped his side seal a vital 2-0 victory against the Blues on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp’s side look to dethrone Manchester City as champions in a tense title race, finding the back of the net with a superb long-range drive.

The effort sees him equal Citizens forward Sergio Aguero on 19 goals for the season, while last year he won the Golden Boot with a record-breaking haul.

The Egypt international’s emergence as one of the most prolific players in the game, however, has taken current Derby County left-back Cole unawares, after Salah’s struggles to adapt to the British game during his time at Stamford Bridge.

The pair played together in 2014 before the attacker was loaned out to Fiorentina and later sold to Roma in 2016.

When asked if he ever expected Salah to achieve what he has during their tenure as team-mates, Cole told Sky Sports: “To be honest, no.

“I saw in training the ability that he had but he seems to have become more ruthless.

“I don’t mean selfish in a bad way but he wants to score goals. That’s his job. He needs to score goals.

“Him, [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mane all play well together but I think he’s become a little bit more ‘it’s about me now, it’s my time’. He’s had enough of the other players being in the shadow and he wants to be the main man.”

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Despite his success with Liverpool, Salah is yet to taste silverware with the club, although they went close last season.

He was controversially injured by Sergio Ramos early on in his side’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, which almost ruled him out of the World Cup in Russia mere weeks later.

Liverpool next face Porto on Wednesday as they look to make it to the last four of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition for the second season in a row.

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