Liverpool got Mohamed Salah at an 'unbelievable bargain' - Roma's James Pallotta

Liverpool's €42 million purchase of Mohamed Salah from Roma last summer was an "unbelievable bargain," the Italian club's owner James Pallotta told ESPN.

Salah has scored 41 goals in 46 appearances in all competition in his debut season for Liverpool and was named PFA Player of the Year by his peers on Sunday.

And ahead of Salah's showdown against his former club in the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday, Pallotta said Liverpool did a good bit of business to land the Egyptian -- even if the Premier League club did offer far and away above any other club.

"When you look at it now, you can say it's an unbelievable bargain," Pallotta said in an interview with ESPN. "The issue at the time was that when [Roma director of football] Monchi came in, Salah wanted to leave. He had a year left on his contract so in another year you'd get nothing.

"He wanted to go back [to England after a spell with Chelsea] and prove himself, which he certainly has done. We can't tell you that anybody else was calling for Salah at anywhere near that kind of price, so there's a lot of teams that have missed out on the great play he's had this year."

Salah was also prolific at Roma, scoring 33 goals over two seasons, but asked if he was surprised at the breakout season, Pallotta said: "Honestly, yes."

"The reason is probably -- because look -- we utilised him differently than Liverpool have. They figured out the best way to utilise him," the American added. "At the time, we had him as a winger and you got Dzeko in the middle and Dzeko's scoring 36 goals himself last year, so it's not like we didn't have someone in there tearing up the league last year.

"So with Dzeko there, it changed a lot of how Salah would be used, and they figured out how to use him a little differently and he's much more in the middle it seems like.

"Where I'm surprised, is how great he's finishing. I mean I think he would say that in Rome, while he had a bunch of goals, his frustration was not finishing the same way and now you get the ball near his feet and it just seems like he's figured a way to put it in the net.

"Do they have bigger nets in the Premier League? It's just been amazing watching him and every time he scores I'm like, 'Oh, dear God.'"

Pallotta, who worked on the deal with Liverpool owner John W. Henry in Boston last summer, said his fellow billionaire was a little concerned with the price tag.

"He was sort of bitching a little about, 'Did we overpay? I think we overpaid,'" Pallotta said. "And I said, 'I'll buy you lunch.'"