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."
17. August 2018
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|Kovac approves Rudy departure from bloated Bayern midfield|
|Klopp insists no player leaves without his approval amid Klavan rumours|
|Real Madrid complain to FIFA over Inter´s alleged Modric approach|
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|Sarri certain Hazard is staying at Chelsea|
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|Campbell joins Frosinone from Arsenal on permanent deal|
|Schalke sign Lille´s Mendyl to end left-back hunt|
|Stokes back in England team as Curran drops out|
|Ronaldo doesn´t guarantee Juventus the title, warns Allegri|
|Tuchel keen to guide PSG star Mbappe after World Cup heroics|
|Yuri: I can see Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Milan pounce for Castillejo as Bacca joins Villarreal permanently|
|De Bruyne to miss three months for Manchester City|
|Manchester City talent Arzani completes Celtic loan|
|I know how precious my career is, says regretful Cipriani|
|Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach|
|Milan complete Laxalt deal|
|Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after outburst against board|
|Tuchel will let Neymar and Cavani settle penalties themselves|
|Hooper: We´re ready, bring on the All Blacks!|
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|Dragons´ Widdop set for Finals return|
|Jamshed found guilty of corruption and banned for 10 years|
|Bennett will not be sacked, insist Broncos|
|Marchisio leaves Juventus|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at round one of the Rugby Championship|
|Durham sign Bancroft for 2019|
|Wolfsburg to fine Hinds after training no-show|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Team-by-team guide|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Atletico Madrid ready for another title push|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Mets set franchise record in 20-run victory|
|Poyet threatens to quit after Bordeaux sell Laborde|
|Keys hits 55 winners en route to QFs, Halep claims rain-interrupted match|
|Djokovic-Dimitrov poised as rain wreaks havoc, Del Potro through|
|Tolisso: Pavard to Bayern? I don´t know|
|Ramos: Real Madrid will win again|
|Eagles QB Nick Foles suffers shoulder strain|
|Man City want to dominate English football, warns Walker|
|Golf behind Timberwolves´ draft mishap in 2009? Curry thinks so|
|Puig suspended, Hundley fined for starting Dodgers-Giants brawl|
|Snedeker leads Wyndham Championship with stunning 59|
|Yankees slugger Judge ´frustrated´ with wrist injury|
|Marlins pitcher Urena handed six-game ban for intentionally hitting Acuna|
|Pochettino expects ´toughest season´ yet at Tottenham|
|´You know you are not employing the Pope´ - Diamond has sympathy for Cipriani|
|Khedira still committed to Germany|
16. August 2018
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|Burnley 1 Istanbul Basaksehir 0 (after extra time): Cork cracker sends Burnley through|
|Zenit hit eight in extraordinary Europa League fightback|
|Saints get back to winning ways at Wakefield|
|Giants medical team discovered tumour in Brittan Golden´s mouth|
|Maribor 0 Rangers 0: Gerrard´s men book play-off berth with calm clean sheet|
|Sassuolo reel in Marlon from Barcelona|
|Formula One ´very poor´, says Alonso after quitting|
|Brighton to host Southampton in EFL Cup second round|
|Tiger Woods´ caddie tried to pay heckler to leave Firestone|
|Sordet leads Nordea Masters, Olesen overcomes flight woes|
|Mourinho visits Istanbul Basaksehir before Burnley game|
|Iniesta hails ´worldwide sports legend´ Alonso|
|Onus on Ozil to rise above criticism, says ex-Arsenal star Wright|