Salah’s big mistake before Uefa final

If I were his best friend, I would have lent him a copy of Sun Tzu's 'Art of War'

In Summary

• Salah's biggest psychological mistake was to declare his desire for revenge 

• He seems not over Liverpool's painful 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in 2017-18

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois saves a shot from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah
Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois saves a shot from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah

It is only after a week that Egyptian star Mohammed Salah mustered the courage to pour out his deep anguish after Liverpool's 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League final in Paris, France. 

Going into the finale of the world's biggest club competition, the Kop's winger left no doubt as to his heart's biggest desire — revenge against the La Liga giants for their 3-1 humbling at the final of the same competition in the 2017-18 season. 

Salah had been poised to star in that final, having taken the English Premier League by storm.

However, a cheeky foul by then Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos, during which the Spaniard landed his whole weight on the Egyptian's shoulder, ruled him out in the early stages of the match. 

Considering that Salah's statement ahead of this year's final was made even before Real Madrid's second leg tie against Manchester City, it was clear that EPL's joint top scorer had not forgiven Real Madrid for Ramos' dark arts, which denied him the chance of a first-ever trophy. Never mind that Salah eventually lifted the Uefa Champions League in the next season after Liverpool defeated fellow English side Tottenham Hotspur.

If I were one of the Egyptian's best friends or even a family member, I would have lent him a copy of the book 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu. Stating that this year's final would be all about revenge for him was Salah's biggest psychological mistake. 

Whereas it may have upped the stakes for the final and heightened a billion interests in the match, Salah's statement put pressure on him and his teammates to deliver in the final. 

The increased expectations and the burden of proof on Salah to make good his threat meant that the Liverpool players would be too scared to play their natural game instead focus on hitting the back of the net. 

Granted, Salah and Co. really did create chances in the game and deserved to take the game at least to extra time. However, the Madridistas gave as much as they received and were determined to win their 14th European title. 

Kudos to keeper Thibaut Courtois for an exceptional performance between the sticks, which kept his team in control to the end. He was a brick wall that the Reds' fearsome front three of Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Salah could not get the ball past. 

Up front, Frenchman Karim Benzema once again proved an able captain, with a five-star performance that only cements his claim to this year's Ballon D'Or. 

The toast of the night was undoubtedly Brazilian Vinicius Jr, who once again delivered on the big stage with the only goal of the match. Real Madrid understood the art of war and let their game on the pitch do the talking. 

They knew Salah and Liverpool would be blinded by their thirst for revenge and as such played as one unit. The Egyptian played all his cards on the table and the opponent knew that a gutsy and opportunistic strategy would down the English club.