Dejan Lovren says team-mate Mohamed Salah is "definitely" the best player in the world as Liverpool prepare to take on a Real Madrid side boasting Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final.
Salah has had a sensational first season on Merseyside, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and claiming the Premier League's Golden Boot with 32.
Those performances have seen the Egypt international scoop the Premier League's Player of the Season award and the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize, while he has also been mentioned as a future Ballon d'Or candidate.
And Lovren believes Salah deserves to be in the reckoning for football's top individual honour, putting him alongside Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
"Of course I spoke to Mo about that [the Ballon d'Or] but it's still an early stage," he told a news conference. "If we win [the final], he's definitely one of the contenders.
"He can be in the top three best players in the world. He has this world-class experience already.
"He is still calm, down to earth and he deserves every credit and every goal he's scored up to now. We will help him to achieve this dream for himself personally."
Focused. pic.twitter.com/AWdHTJTlCW— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 21, 2018
Asked whether Salah was the best player in the world at the moment, Lovren replied: "Definitely. When you score that many in the Premier League, definitely.
"When you look at Messi and Ronaldo, it's Mo Salah. He deserves to be in the top three."
Lovren is likely to be one of the men charged with dealing with Ronaldo as Madrid go in search of a third consecutive Champions League crown in Kiev on Saturday, but says it will take a team effort to halt the Portuguese forward.
"Ronaldo, Salah, Messi – you need to respect these players a lot. Every year he [Ronaldo] scores 30 goals, even if he has a bad season, so you need to pay attention to that.
"Also, in the Premier League we play against some of the best strikers in the world. We know how to defend like a team.
"When we want to stop Ronaldo, we will stop him together.
"Some parts of the game will be one against one and it will be tough, but it's a challenge I'm ready for. I've been working so hard. I'm ready for everything."
22. Juni 2018
|Hummels hoping to be fit for Sweden clash|
|Hend surges clear as Fleetwood struggles again in Pulheim|
|Giant-killers Mexico embrace sudden weight of expectation|
|Roma complete €17.25m Kluivert deal|
|Pakistan name strong group for Zimbabwe tour|
|Choc Horror: Boullier insists McLaren do not hand out Freddos as bonuses|
|Neymar: Not everyone knows what I went through|
|Poland v Colombia: No time to dwell on regrets, warns Aguilar|
|Musa shows Messi how it´s done to set up critical Argentina showdown|
|Nigeria 2 Iceland 0: Musa brace boosts Super Eagles & Argentina|
|McLaren and Renault open to Ricciardo talks|
|We must win, we have no other choice - Maaloul|
|Germany will respond against Sweden, insists Low|
|´The best among all Asians´, South Korea trust in Son against Mexico|
|Stalin´s bunker an unlikely site for Russia´s World Cup charm offensive|
|England v Panama: Rashford tipped to start as Southgate´s side aim for last 16|
|Erasmus wary of ´wonderful´ Cipriani|
|Hummels to miss Germany-Sweden, confirms Low|
|Murray accepts Eastbourne wildcard|
|St Petersburg madness lines up Neymar and Brazil with heroes of the past|
|Martinez happy to be ´boring Belgium´|
|Japan v Senegal: Squeaky clean Group H rivals eyeing huge step towards last 16|
|Argentina team the worst in history - Ardiles|
|Ravanelli upsets wife by taking Arsenal job...in Kiev|
|Federer moves a step closer to 10th title in Halle|
|Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0: Coutinho and Neymar score in stoppage time to snatch win|
|Andersson: Sweden embracing big occasion as bug sweeps through team|
|LeBron in ´good dialogue´ with Cavaliers|
|Ronaldo will always be the best, Fonte claims|
|Southgate criticises press for England team leak|
|O´Mahony: Series win in Australia would be up there with Grand Slam|
|Khedira thrilled with Can capture, staying with Juventus|
|Samuel open to Higuain-Icardi swap deal|
|It´s just a game - Milligan disappointed by Kruse criticism|
|From drug-testing lab to gastro pub: Sochi happy not to forget dark past|
|Ronaldo will do what is best for him, says Carvajal|
|Kohli: India will feel at home in England|
|Barca target Lenglet yet to decide future|
|Germany perform best under pressure, Klose claims|
|Juanfran signs one-year Atletico Madrid extension|
|Julian Nagelsmann: The remarkable rise of RB Leipzig|
|Sterling: my daughter is Liverpool through and through!|
|Van Bommel to take charge of PSV|
|Hansen urges France not to ´squeal´ over decisions|
|Intelligent Jones will turn England´s fortunes around - Moody|
|Nainggolan confirms imminent Inter transfer|
|U.S. Open missed cut may be blessing in disguise - McIlroy|
|Schmidt in no rush to decide on his future|
|Wallabies treating decider as grand final - Hooper|
|Salah won´t leave World Cup, Egypt FA boss claims|
|Chandimal, Hathurusinghe and Gurusinha admit ´serious´ conduct breach|
|Mikal Bridges´ 76ers dreams dashed in dramatic draft twist|
|They want to pull you down - Sterling hits out at tabloid press|
|Lazaridis wants West Ham to stick with Mexico star Hernandez|
|Get behind Sterling, urges Henderson|
|Sampaoli begs for Argentina´s forgiveness|
|The 2018 NBA Draft first round in full|
|Everything still to play for against ´very strong´ France, says Eriksen|
|Cubs bested by Harvey, Yankees sweep Mariners|
|Spurs GM: We´ll do what we can to keep Leonard|
|Lovren: This Croatia team are better than 1998 heroes|
|Internationals Musa, Okobo selected in NBA Draft|
|Modric is the world´s best number 10 – Arbeloa|
|Kurz stay crucial to Jakobsen´s Adelaide move|
|Nuggets end Porter´s slide at number 14|
|Argentina were crying like girls – Vrsaljko|
|Cavaliers select Sexton with number eight overall pick|
|Argentina must ´pray´ results go their way, says Mascherano|
|Grizzlies select Jackson with number four pick|
|Hawks select Doncic with third pick, trade him to Mavericks|