Mohamed Salah: when Atlético targeted Liverpool star

Ahead of the Champions League clash between the two sides, we reflect on a sliding doors moment in 2013-14, when a Red could have been a Rojiblanco.

Cuando el Atleti fue a por Salah.

Mohamed Salah will, barring a major incident, start in the Liverpool attack against Atlético Madrid on Tuesday evening for the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 first leg. Had the doors slid in different ways a few years back, though, he could have been wearing the red and white of the hosts.

Salah close to Atlético move

It was in 2013-14, when the Egyptian had options to leave Switzerland for the Spanish capital, but instead ended up in England, in the blue of Chelsea. Salah's talent was overflowing in Basel, and the two clubs dived in to bring him to either LaLiga or the Premier League.

Chelsea had an advantage over Atlético, money. The 27-year old had caused the Stamford Bridge club problems first hand in the Champions League. Two years in a row (with three goals in four games) the Basel star stood out, and Abramovich tripled Atlético's financial offer to the player and to the Swiss outfit.

Ready | Liverpool's Mohamed Salah with Takumi Minamino during training.

Ready | Liverpool's Mohamed Salah with Takumi Minamino during training.

In the end, 44 million euros made the deal happen, although Salah had seriously valued the Atlético project and the Spanish lifestyle that came with it. The appeal of the English top flight, and the European aspirations of The Blues, however, convinced him, and Mourinho was handed the talent. Unloved in London, he then went via Rome to Anfield. Now he returns to the city where he lifted Old Big Ears less than a year ago, and will not be looking to do Atleti any favours.