Mohamed Salah and Liverpool are ready to throw off the shackles and show their best form after a slow start to the season, according to former Reds winger Albert Riera.

 

Salah shared the Golden Boot with Tottenham's Son Heung-min in England last season, and fell just shy of capturing the Premier League title with Jurgen Klopp's side.

But, like Liverpool collectively, the Egyptian forward has found the going tough so far this term.

Just two goals and two assists – a modest return by Salah's standards – have come amid a slow start for both player and club, with Liverpool perched in eighth place.

Defending champions Manchester City are vying with Arsenal and Tottenham for top spot.

Riera, who spent two years with Liverpool from 2008 to 2010 following a brief spell with City, believes Salah can still turn the corner and rediscover his best form.

"For sure, 100 per cent," Riera told Stats Perform. "He is focused on scoring goals, he wants to score goals, he wants to play well, and he wants to do his best.

"But we also have to understand this level of player, the rest want to stop them. This is extra motivation for a defender to play against Mo, that he is not scoring goals.

"It is not easy to play against defenders because they are so motivated, and they want to stop them. But I'm sure he will score goals as he did before."

With the season almost two months old, Liverpool already face a fight to close the gap on City, with an eight-point gap between the two sides heading into this weekend.

Liverpool have a game in hand, and former Spain international Riera remains positive the Reds can catch up, but he remains in awe of their rivals' success under Pep Guardiola.

"Man City have been at this level already for many years," Riera said. "But they are a machine at creating chances. Even if you put the bus at the back, you will concede chances.

"Playing against Man City, I don't know how I would prepare this game. They're a team that have clear ideas and [are] difficult to beat. But I [think] Liverpool can fight them.

"I'm sure now that they are on their way back, and I'm sure they will fight at the end with Man City for the title."

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will go down as two of the very best managers, with their rivalry hailed as "incredible" by Albert Riera.

Guardiola's Manchester City lead the way by a point in the Premier League after their draw with Klopp's Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was a repeat of the scoreline from the reverse fixture earlier this season, and is the first time since 2012-13 that they have shared two draws in one league campaign.

A topsy turvy match saw Diogo Jota hit back for Liverpool after Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring, with Sadio Mane cancelling out Gabriel Jesus' strike.

The teams will meet again in the FA Cup semi-finals and Riera, who played for both clubs, is fascinated by the rivalry and the skills of both managers.

"If I ask you what you consider playing well, one coach will answer one way and another in another way," Riera told Stats Perform. 

"One may say that if he wins, he plays well. Another will tell you to start from behind and reach the striker without the opponent touching the ball, but if you lose, that is not valid either. 

"This is the beauty of football, if there was a system that guarantees us to win, we would all play the same. 

"They are obviously two of the best and [two of] those who motivate you. I like to see how they work."

 

He added: "For the spectators and those of us who watch it from the outside, it's incredible to be able to see a game like this.

"I think we all know the way City play, wanting to defend with possession of the ball and even against an aggressive team like Liverpool who want to get the ball back, but this time it cost them, because City want it at all costs. 

"On the other hand, Liverpool's transitions are spectacular. You can't see many teams where the two full-backs reach the attack, that's something very difficult to see."

Riera also believes that, with City and Liverpool acting as the driving forces in recent seasons, the Premier League is the most intense competition in world football.

"At the rhythm level, the Premier League is unmatched with other leagues," Riera continued. "In England, the 90 or 95 minutes that the game lasts is [played] at full speed.

"Obviously Liverpool and Manchester City are at an impressive level, and it is difficult to see that Brentford or Burnley can beat them. But I have the memory that anyone can beat anyone [in the Premier League] because they are not afraid, and they go out on the field to attack.

"This is the most beautiful [league]."

Liverpool are now winless in five league matches against City (three draws, two defeats), but are bidding to reach a first FA Cup final since 2012 when they go head-to-head again on Saturday.

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