Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares insists he has no fears about going head to head with Liverpool superstar Mo Salah during Saturday’s Premier League clash at Anfield, speaking to talkSPORT (19 November, 12.40pm).
Tavares certainly isn’t lacking confidence. You only have to watch him play to realise that.
Those marauding, slaloming runs down the left have made the summer signing from Benfica an immediate fans’ favourite in north London. Tavares has stepped effortlessly into the void created by Kieran Tierney’s recent injury troubles.
Unfortunately for Jim White, who conducted the interview on behalf of talkSPORT, Tavares doesn’t seem quite so expressive off the pitch.
But, during a torturous conversation between a despairing journalist and a seemingly uninterested footballer, there were still a few interesting soundbites worth noting as in-form Arsenal prepare to face Premier League challengers Liverpool.
Tavares vs Salah will be a fascinating watch for Arsenal and Liverpool fans
“I don’t know why some people are so shocked about Arsenal,” Tavares said when asked about the club’s recent turnaround from bottom of the table in late August to fifth in mid-November.
“We are a big club and have good players! For us, it’s normal and simple to win games. We are in the top five. For us, we want to achieve top one so I don’t know why people are surprised.
“We go to Anfield trying to win the game. That’s it.”
Tierney is available again after featuring in Scotland’s 2-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Denmark on Monday. It remains to be seen, then, whether Arteta throws one of his most trusted lieutenants back in the side at Anfield or keeps faith with Tavares.
One thing’s for sure, Tavares will sleep soundly in his bed tonight even if he has to take on perhaps the greatest footballer on the planet.
“(I feel) normal. Salah will play against me. I don’t have problems with anyone,” said Tavares, who was linked with Southampton and Newcastle before joining Arsenal.
“We have a good team. Liverpool have a good team as well. We need to fight on the pitch. Salah doesn’t know who I am. I’m young, maybe he doesn’t know (me).”
As the exasperated Jim White pointed out, however, Salah may know all about Tavares by the time the final whistle blows on Saturday night.