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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Dejan Lovren: Mohamed Salah belongs in same company as Messi and Ronaldo

Egyptian forward has enjoyed a stunning debut campaign at Anfield and could cap it all off with a Uefa Champions League winner's medal on Saturday

Dejan Lovren believes Mohamed Salah is already in the world’s top three players and can propel himself into contention to win the Ballon d’Or by inspiring Liverpool to Uefa Champions League glory this weekend.

The defender feels his 44-goal teammate deserves to be bracketed alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have been named the outstanding player on the planet in each of the last 10 calendar years.

“When you look at Messi, Ronaldo, Mo Salah, he deserves to be in the top three,” said the Croatian.

“I spoke to Mo about that. It is still quite an early stage but if we win he is definitely one of the contenders. He is so calm and down to earth and he deserves every credit. Definitely we will help him achieve this dream.”

Lovren will be one of those charged with halting Real Madrid’s record goalscorer but believes a collective effort is required to combat Ronaldo.

“We will stop him together,” he added. “In some parts of the game it will be one against one and it will be tough but it is a challenge that I will be ready for. I am ready for everything.”

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Read more:

In pictures: Kiev prepares to host Real Madrid and Liverpool in Champions League final

Team of the Season: Five Manchester City players join record-breaker Salah

Why Liverpool will go on to win the title

Why Real Madrid will win the Champions League

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Lovren will have the assistance of Virgil van Dijk and he believes he has benefited from quickly establishing an understanding with the most expensive defender in history since his £75 million (Dh370m) move in January.

He explained: “Virgil has the quality that he helped the team to improve defensively and also to bring this calmness into the team. I feel also personally much more confident when you know you have a really good partner next to you. It is great we didn’t take too much time to connect with each other. Usually it takes more.”

Lovren believes that the Champions League final represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for some of the Liverpool players as he voiced his hope that it will create memories for him to savour in the future.

“It is a dream come true for everyone,” he said. “I always dreamed to be in the Champions League and I dreamed one day to lift the trophy. We have the biggest chance in our lives. For some of us, the only one, for some many more hopefully but we need to be proud of ourselves. We did a great job from the beginning and hopefully in many years we can say to our kids and family that we did our best and won the trophy.”