Mohamed Salah: Liverpool & Egypt forward 'breaking down barriers' on Islam

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Fans in Liverpool cheer on Salah in Britain's oldest mosque

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is helping to tackle Islamophobia in the city, the region's mayor says.

The Reds forward scored 44 goals in his debut season on Merseyside and helped his side to the Champions League final.

And Steve Rotheram, mayor of Liverpool City Region, says the 26-year-old Egyptian's impact as a high-profile Muslim has "broken down barriers".

"His legacy will be much more about what's happened off the field," Rotheram added.

Salah was named both PFA Player of the Year,Football Writers Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season after his 32 goals set a new record for the most in a 38-game season.

He scored 44 in 51 games in all competitions, though his season ended in disappointment when he left the field injured as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions league final.

Before Salah's £34m arrival from Roma last summer, police figures showed Merseyside had had the third-highest increase in recorded hate crimes against mosques in the country, after London and Greater Manchester.

A chant by Liverpool fans about their player includes the line "sitting in the mosque, that's where I wanna be" - and was praised on social media by Salah himself.

"To have that breakdown of Islamophobia caused by one person is an absolutely phenomenal achievement," Rotheram told BBC Radio 5 live's Mo Salah: Football is Life.

"I think what Salah's done is what John Barnes did for the black community in the '80s."

You can listen to Mo Salah: Football is Life, on BBC Radio 5 live at 11:00 BST on Saturday, 23 June and it will be available here afterwards.

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