Liverpool star Salah, Kerr bag English football writers’ awards

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Mohamed Salah (top) is challenged by Villarreal’s Pervis Estupinan during the Champions League semi final; (R) Sam Kerr celebrates scoring goal. AP / Reuters

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was named England’s Men’s Footballer of the Year on Friday in the annual vote of the Football Writers’ Association (FWA), with the Egypt international picking up the award for the second time.

Salah, who also won in 2018, got 48% of the vote, ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and West Ham United’s Declan Rice who came second and third respectively.

The 29-year-old has 30 goals and 14 assists in 44 games for Liverpool this season and remains a key part of Juergen Klopp’s team, who are one point behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League with five matches left.

Chelsea forward Sam Kerr took home the Women’s Footballer of the Year award with 40% of the vote, beating Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema and City’s Lauren Hemp.

Australia international Kerr is the top scorer in the Women’s Super League this season with 18 goals.

Kerr Chelsea’s Sam Kerr (L) celebrates scoring their second goal. Reuters

Salah and Kerr, 28, are set to receive their awards at the Footballer of the Year dinner in London on May 5.

FWA chair Carrie Brown said: “Both Mo and Sam have been outstanding this season, breaking records for both club and country.

“As well as their performances on the pitch, they are leaders and standard bearers of excellence at their clubs and respective leagues.”

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola offered congratulations to Salah, but laced the compliment with what might be perceived as a back-handed swipe at Klopp.

“Congratulations to Salah. Jurgen said they have the best keeper, the second-best keeper in the world, the best central defender, the best holding midfielder, the best striker. So it’s normal they win all the awards,” he said.

Salah-combo Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in actions. Reuters

Meanwhile, Klopp says he does not believe his new deal will be the deciding factor in whether star forwards Salah and Sadio Mane commit their long-term futures to the club.

Salah and Mane, along with fellow attacker Roberto Firmino and midfielder Naby Keita, have contracts that expire next year.

With Klopp now staying until 2026, there is a greater degree of security at the club, but the German is not convinced that will make a huge difference to individual players’ decisions.

“If it is a positive sign for the boys, great, but I don’t think this will be the one decisive thing for whatever decision they want to make,” he said on Friday.

“It is their own life but we just wanted to guarantee that everyone who wants to be here knows what he can expect.”

Egypt international Salah, whose negotiations have dragged on for several months, admitted last week it was not certain he would remain at Anfield, stressing the decision was not just about the money.

But Klopp said he did not make judgements about players’ loyalty based on whether they wanted to go elsewhere.

“If a player tells you early enough he wants to go then you have to deal with it,” Klopp said.

“I don’t judge people if they are loyal or not if they say during a contract ‘I want to go somewhere else and see what the weather is like or how the grass is there’.

“That’s not the case. I think you see loyalty in other areas.”

Agencies

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