Reaction On Sarr: “It's A Coming-Of-Age Performance”
By Kevin Affleck
Ballon d'Or winner Michael Owen reckons Ismaïla Sarr announced himself to the football world with what he described as "a coming-of-age performance" on Saturday night.
Sarr, who only turned 22 last week, scored two and set up the other in a rampant home win over Liverpool in what was his first start since more than five weeks out with injury. It was the first time the Reds had conceded three goals in a Premier League game in more than 13 months.
"It's a coming-of-age performance," Owen, the former Liverpool striker, told Premier League Productions. "He's come for big money, he's been well-touted and this was a big night for him. on the biggest stage against the champions elect. He showed all the attributes [with that second goal]. He's got the pace, he's got the composure to finish it. Not many people do that to Virgil van Dijk, run away from him. The finish was brilliant."
Owen Hargreaves, who played with plenty of top performers at Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Manchester City, feels Sarr has all the attributes you would want from a modern-day forward.
"The pace and athleticism, with that end product, is what every team needs," said the former England midfielder. "That was against the best team in Europe and he tore them to shreds."
Ben Foster is just relieved he only has to face Sarr in training and not have him running at him full pelt or trying to rip one across him from right to left.
"We've missed him," Foster said on Added Time. "His workrate is phenomenal – he never gives up. He's up the line, he's down the line back defending. He's playing against one of the best defenders in the world and he just showed great calmness to put that [second] one away."
The Senegal international, who arrived in the summer from Rennes for a club-record fee, is one of the quiestest members of the squad to the extent Foster said he's never had a conversation with him, but he's starting to come out of his shell, particularly as his English improves.
"He never gets too excited, he always stays on the same plane," said the goalkeeper. "If you give him space and put the ball behind the left back, they are struggling. He's so willing to do the work, so the other parts of his game are just bonus parts."
Goalkeeping coach Graham Stack, who trained alongside Thierry Henry, just marvelled at what he saw from the jet-heeled forward.
"He's just so calm and calculated in front of goal," said Stack. "He took his time [for the second goal], picked his spot and put it away beautifully. He doesn't really change much: he doesn't get too high or too low. For a player of his age to play on a a plaform like this, the way he does is a real credit to him."