Liverpool star Mohamed Salah proved he was destined for a successful career even while struggling at Chelsea, Frank Lampard insists.
Salah moved to Stamford Bridge in 2014 but never managed to break into Jose Mourinho’s first-team, making just 19 appearances for the club before joining Roma.
Lampard was a team-mate of the Egyptian for six months before his own Chelsea career came to an end that summer.
The Blues boss now has to find a way of stopping Salah, who has scored 75 goals in 111 appearances since joining Liverpool, when the sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“Unfortunately for Mo, it didn’t work out here but it is great credit to him,” said Lampard. “He went to Italy and then came back and now he’s a superstar.
“As for his path, it’s hard to compare what might have been. The talent was obviously there.
“At the time, I think we had a lot of options in attacking areas. Number 10s, wingers, and he didn’t get as many opportunities for whatever reason, but yes, you could see the talent was there.
“But the player that he is now, or that came back to Liverpool, I think you have to say huge credit is due. You don’t have to search for anything more than look at Mo himself.
“You have to say what professionalism and work ethic, to leave a club like Chelsea is not easy.
“People then cast you aside and say you won’t make it there. He went on to be the superstar he is now. It is completely credit to Mo himself.”
Liverpool will arrive in west London with a 100 per cent record in the Premier League, but Lampard can take confidence from his side’s performance against them in the Super Cup in August.
Chelsea were the better side for much of the game and only lost on penalties after a 2-2 draw in Istanbul.
“For us, it will show us that we can compete with what, on form, are the best team in the country,” added Lampard.
“I know it was early in the season and there are different things to take into account from that but I think we more than held ourselves in a good manner and we could have won the game.
“In our opinion we should have won the game if we had taken our chances but every game is a new thing.
“I think this game is now on its own in front of us. We are going up against the best team in the country at the moment.”