Football

Liverpool hero Salah & Chelsea superstar Kerr the standout performers in the Champions League this season

Goal.com

The battle for Europe’s most prestigious club prize is well and truly underway in both the men’s and women’s games.

The group stage of the Champions League is nearing its end in men’s football, giving some players time to outshine their fellow elite stars. The women’s competition, on the other hand, is just two games in but there are already a few heroes setting themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

Partnered with Heineken’s Fresher Football, GOAL profiles the most impressive players in the men’s and women’s Champions Leagues this season.

After five matches, Mohamed Salah has emerged as one of the most prolific forwards in the Champions League this season.

Despite his and Liverpool’s inconsistency in the Premier League, the Egypt star has been devastating in the European competition, scoring five goals to help his side secure a place in the knockout rounds.

Salah is the joint-top scorer alongside Paris Saint-Germain hero Kylian Mbappe, but what puts the Reds man ahead of the French striker is his efficiency.

Indeed, Salah has played 85 fewer minutes than the 23-year-old and has taken just 17 shots. His shots-per-game rate is better than those of Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The standout performance from the 30-year-old was his historic hat-trick in their 7-1 win against Rangers. Salah came off the bench with just over 20 minutes to play and fired in his first goal shortly afterwards. Six minutes after finding the net, he had added a second and a third to complete his treble in record time.

Salah is not the only history maker of this year’s Champions League, however.

In the Women’s Champions League, Sam Kerr is the attacker who is currently outshining her rivals.

Chelsea have been fantastic in the opening rounds, taking six points from their two matches to put them ahead of Real Madrid and PSG in Group A. The English champions got up and running with a 1-0 win against the French side before they battered Vllaznia 8-0.

It was in the thrashing of the Albanian side that Kerr stood out and earned her place in the history books. The Australian forward became the first player to score four goals in a single match in the group stage of the tournament.

The 29-year-old needed only 63 minutes to set that incredible record as she was replaced by Beth England shortly after the hour mark, and she took just five shots in the match.

Across both of her appearances, Kerr has made 10 attempts on goal and scored four goals, making her the top scorer so far.

She has had fewer shots than the likes of Wolfsburg star Ewa Pajor, who has scored three times, Real Madrid’s Esther Gonzalez, Valentina Giacinti of Roma and Lyon forward Lindsey Horan.

As the top scorer in the FA Women’s Super League in each of the last two seasons, it is no surprise to see Kerr make such a strong and efficient start for the English giants.

As Chelsea’s general manager Paul Green said: “Sam’s a born goal scorer. She’s won the Golden Boot the last two years and we never had any doubts she would score goals again this season, that’s what she’s made a career on… You look at her record across her career and we haven’t been worried about that at all.”

Both Liverpool and Chelsea will be confident superstar forwards Salah and Kerr can maintain their prolific starts to the campaign and help give them a chance of challenging for the big prize this year.

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