Mo Salah’s time at Liverpool is coming to an end, and the club needs to prepare accordingly.
No player has defined this era of Liverpool dominance of the English and European game better than Mohamed Salah. Some may point to Alisson Becker or Virgil van Dijk as the Reds’ most important player. Indeed, the signing of both within six months proved to be a watershed in the development of Jurgen Klopp’s team, but Salah is the one who epitomises the devastation Liverpool can cause on a soccer pitch.
The Egyptian’s rise since making the move to Merseyside from Roma in 2017 has been remarkable. This is a player who failed to make much of an impression in his first Premier League stint at Chelsea. While Salah got his career back on track at Roma, few thought thought Liverpool had secured a superstar when they paid €42 million for him.
Almost from the moment he pitched up at Anfield, though, Salah has been the club’s primary difference maker. He is the one who comes up with something special when Liverpool need it most. He is their top goalscorer, finding the net 110 times in 173 appearances over four seasons for the Reds.
Increasingly, however, there is a sense Salah might harbour ambitions to test himself somewhere new. A recent interview given to the Madrid-based sports newspaper AS this month only added to this feeling, with the 28-year-old coy on where he sees his future in the long-term. His remarks didn’t exactly quell speculation.
“We never know what is going to happen in the future,” Salah said when when asked what he wanted from the next few years of his career, with the Egyptian having achieved all there is to achieve in English soccer by the age of 28,” but right now I’m focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League again with my club.”
Furthermore, Salah added fuel to the fire by putting the onus on Liverpool to clarify his future, adding: “That’s a tough one, but right now I can say that everything is in the club’s hands.” One wonders how Klopp and the decision makers at Anfield reacted upon reading their best player’s comments in the Spanish press.
Salah has been tentatively linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past. The Egyptian is one of the game’s greatest players at this moment in time and soccer’s best tend to be drawn to Spain’s dominant duo – see how Liverpool lost both Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
Liverpool have earned praised for their shrewd approach to recruitment in recent years and one of their next moves must be to prepare for Salah’s departure. Replacing the 28-year-old will be a tough task, but the reigning Premier League champions have shown time and time again they know how to find value in the market.
The Reds have the benefit of being one of the most attractive teams in Europe right now. Players want to wear the Liverpool shirt. They want to play for Klopp, as proven by Thiago Alcantara who left European champions Bayern Munich for Merseyside last summer. If the funds are available, Liverpool will be able to sign a top tier successor for Salah.
Manchester City serve as a cautionary tale for Liverpool. They stood still having reached the top of the English game and are now suffering for it. Pep Guardiola’s side have grown stagnant. Klopp and Liverpool’s transfers chief, Michael Edwards, mustn’t allow the same thing to happen to their team and that means some difficult decisions will have to be made.
It could be the case that Salah ultimately chooses to stay at Liverpool where he can become a true legend of the club. But if he decides to leave, the Reds must look at it as an opportunity to replenish and move forward once again. The process of identifying a successor for Salah must start now.