Mohamed Salah's quest for Liverpool goal record down to confidence - Rush

LIVERPOOL -- Ian Rush is one of the few people qualified to assess Mohamed Salah's frame of mind during his record-breaking first season at Liverpool.

"To tell you the truth, you feel invincible," Rush told ESPN FC.

Salah's 36 goals in all competitions so far this season are 11 shy of Rush's club record for a single campaign. Rush netted 47 times in 65 appearances in 1983-84, helping Joe Fagan's Liverpool win the European Cup, First Division and League Cup Treble.

"I think it's all down to confidence," said Rush, speaking to promote Liverpool Legends' match with Bayern Munich on Saturday. "I think when you're playing so well like that, you go out knowing you're going to score.

"When you're on a high, you try everything. You try ridiculous things, with your left foot, your right foot, with your head -- everything.

"If you're not as confident, then you're scared to try those things. I think that's the difference when you're in a purple patch like that. You're willing to try everything because you know nine times out of 10 that it will come off.

"You just can't wait to get out there because you know you're going to get a chance. And if you get a chance, you're most probably going to score. That's what happens."

That excitement to get out and play transcends onto the training ground, too, according to Rush, despite the obvious risk of picking up injuries that could ultimately have an impact on a player's momentum.

"I think in training, you're exactly the same," Rush said. "You go out there with confidence and all that. If you think about getting injured, then you will get injured.

"Off the pitch as well, you feel really comfortable doing everything. You take that into training.

"I've heard some of the Liverpool players say how fantastic Salah has been -- that's in training, not just in the games. That comes across to me that he's in a purple patch."

A lot of footballers are creatures of habit, following some bizarre routines in the belief that a winning or scoring run would be maintained. Rush was no different. His superstition was born part-way through the 1983-84 season, when Luton Town arrived at Anfield.

"When you get superstitions, that's it," he said. "My boots were rock hard [before the game] and I just wet my boots.

"I scored five goals and we won 6-0. Ever since then, I wet my boots. Even now when I play in Legends games, I still wet my boots before.

"I don't know whether Mo has any superstitions himself, but everyone has their own ins and outs."

With Liverpool having seven Premier League games remaining in the season and at least two more in the Champions League, there is still the very real possibility that Salah will break Rush's long-standing feat.

"Even when I broke Roger Hunt's record, he told me that records are there to be broken," said Rush, Liverpool's all-time top scorer with 346 goals. "Of course you want to hold on to your records, but being connected with Liverpool Football Club now, you don't mind them being broken because that means they're doing well.

"Maybe a difference is that when I scored 47 goals, we won three trophies. That's what we've got to start doing now.

"It's great having individual trophies, but in my [47-goal] season we won three trophies. I'm more pleased that we won three trophies than I did scoring 47 goals."

Rush's remarkable season was no outlier. He followed up with 26 goals in 44 appearances in 1984-85, then recorded goal-scoring returns of 33 and 40 in the two seasons after that.

In order for Salah to maintain the same level of success in the long term, Rush concluded: "You keep looking to improve yourself every time.

"You know next season people will be looking out for you. People will be out there saying: 'If you stop Salah from playing, then you stop Liverpool from playing and winning.'

"You're always looking to improve each season because the opposition will be doing exactly the same. If you can't add one or two things to your makeup, then you're not going to do that."