There is no false modesty about Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool striker knows just how good he is. The Egyptian’s pre-Christmas interview with Spanish sports newspaper DiarIo AS caused headlines because Salah refused to rule out a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid. The 28-year-old’s answer was non-committal. No sane footballer would dismiss outright the prospect of playing for one of La Liga’s big two. What was even more instructive was Salah’s answer when asked whether he regarded himself as one of the best players in the world. “Yeah, absolutely, yeah,” he replied. This is a man with a sense of his own status. Salah does not speak out very often. Media outlets have queued up for interviews but the striker rarely goes on the record. He is conscious that his words have an impact. The forward cost £38 million when he was bought from Roma in 2017 and he is under contract for two more years. The deal expires 15 days after his 31st birthday. Liverpool will almost certainly offer him an extension, probably next summer. It is a difficult balancing act for a player whose pace is one of the characteristics of his game to select the correct career strategy. Salah is reaching the age where an athlete’s body begins to show signs of wear and tear. Anfield has been good for Salah. He was high on Fenway Sports Group’s wish list as long ago as 2014. The club thought they had agreed a deal to buy him from Basel but were gazumped by Chelsea. The recruitment department continued to track him until they finally got their man. Liverpool believed he would be a success in the Premier League despite his stuttering spell under Jose Mourinho in west London but even his biggest boosters could not have expected him to blossom as a genuine superstar. Because of the way Jurgen Klopp’s team function, Salah has never quite received the praise he deserves. Vigil van Dijk, who signed in January three years ago, is regarded as the catalyst in the team’s transformation from also-rans to winners. Alisson Becker is considered the final piece in the jigsaw. Even up front, the accolades are shared three ways between Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. When Diogo Jota rejoins the fray after returning from injury a fourth forward will be vying for a place in the team and acclaim. That is a tribute to Klopp’s group ethic but a player as brilliant as Salah would not need to be an egotist to think that he should be seen as the club’s main asset. Could he find that role elsewhere? Real Madrid’s attack is led by Karim Benzema and although the Frenchman is a magnificent striker he is 33 years old. There is a vacancy for a galactico goalscorer at the Bernabeu. The situation at the Nou Camp is even more intriguing. Barcelona are languishing in sixth place in La Liga and are 10 points behind the leaders Atletico Madrid. The Lionel Messi era is coming to an end. A new saviour will be required very soon in Catalonia. Salah has no emotional attachment to Liverpool. His relationship with the club is professional. There are two ways that teams keep players happy: winning trophies and paying going-rate wages. Egypt’s talisman would certainly earn more elsewhere but life on Merseyside offers the prospect of more medals. The team are top of the Premier League, despite an injury crisis, and the addition of Thiago Alcantara would seem to make them better equipped to challenge for the Champions League this season. That is good reason to stay. There is also the example of players who have left Anfield in the belief they could do better elsewhere. Philippe Coutinho is the most recent example and even though the Brazilian picked up a Champions League medal after coming on as substitute in the final while on loan at Bayern Munich in August, the midfielder’s move to Barcelona has not been a success. Salah has more in common with Luis Suarez, who also left Anfield for Catalonia, in terms of ability. Coutinho was never quite as good as his reputation. Suarez needed no hype. The Uruguayan had the swagger and attitude to succeed wherever he went. And there lies the biggest question mark against Salah. It takes a certain kind of individual to thrive at Real and Barca, especially when they arrive with a big reputation and a massive price tag. The collegiate nature of Liverpool’s approach suits Salah as much as it sometimes irritates him. There have been rumblings about his relationship with Mane but strikers are selfish and sometimes resent their teammates. There is no serious issue there but both players would like to outscore the other, even though spreading the goals round takes the pressure off everyone. A move to Madrid or Barcelona would increase the intensity of the spotlight on Salah to what could become an uncomfortable level. Some players are built to carry the weight of a team. Others find out too late that they are not equipped for the job. For now, Liverpool supporters should not worry too much. There is no danger of Salah moving in the short term and even a summer departure is unlikely. The Egyptian will play in front of the Kop for some time to come. Yet he would be a fool not to consider his options. Kopites should enjoy watching Salah perform in a red shirt. They are witnessing greatness in action. No wonder the world’s richest clubs look towards Anfield with envy.