Graham Cummins:  Liverpool fans right to be worried about Salah's new deal

Arguably the best player in the world right now, deadly forward Mohamed Salah is vital to the Reds' challenge in the league and Europe
Graham Cummins:  Liverpool fans right to be worried about Salah's new deal

HAIL TO THE KING: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their side's second goal against Man City. 

WHY is it, when you look at his stats since joining Liverpool, that it has taken nearly five years for some people to appreciate just how good Mohamed Salah is?

Before this season, Salah had scored 95 goals in 115 league games since joining Liverpool from AS Roma in 2017, yet it is only now that people are considering him among the very elite in world football. Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, have rightly recent plaudits over the past several seasons but Salah seemed to be the one of the three that people took a dislike to.

While Firmino and Mane were adored because of their work ethic for the team, Salah was seen as a selfish player, a player that portrayed his needs to be greater than the teams.

The Egyptian was vilified for his role in his disagreement with Mane back in 2019 in a game against Burnley, when he opted not to pass the ball to his teammate even though Mane appeared to be in a better position to score. The personal relationship between the two Liverpool front men has always been questioned and it’s hard to tell what sort of bond they have off the pitch but they do bring out the best in each other.

You get the feeling that before every game, one always wants to outshine the other. That might be seen as a negative by some, but healthy competition is a good thing. Much like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have competed against one another for years, there has been a similar argument between Mane and Salah when it comes to who is the better of the two, and it seems that the latter is determined to put that argument to bed.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Watford's Danny Rose battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road. Picture: Tess Derry/PA Wire.
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Watford's Danny Rose battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road. Picture: Tess Derry/PA Wire.

While others like Harry Kane and, to a certain extent Romelu Lukaku — those who were expected to finish ahead of the Salah in the race for the Golden Boot — have struggled, the Egyptian looks better than ever.

Salah is unpredictable, which makes him nearly impossible to defend against. Defenders are always thought to show a player down the outside and onto their weaker foot, but as Salah showed with his wonder goal against Manchester City, that if a defender does that against him, he will gladly take up the offer and score anyway.

Against Watford, Craig Cathcart dives in and sells himself in anticipation that Salah will repeat himself by shooting with his right foot, but the 29-year-old simple chops back onto his good foot and calmly finishes, and in doing so, makes Cathcart look foolish.

But what are defenders meant to do against the attacker? If Cathcart doesn’t try and block the shot, Salah will repeat what he did against City, and if he does try and block the shot — as he did — the outcome is Salah scoring with his left foot.

I questioned Liverpool’s philosophy in the transfer market over the summer. The Reds were reluctant to spend vast sums of money on recruiting players. Their focus seemed to be on extending players' contracts. It reminded me of Tottenham Hotspurs in the past, when they were more concerned about tying players down to long-term deals rather than adding to the squad.

Liverpool spent €40m on signing Ibrahima Onate from RB Leipzig, however, they have used the rest of their budget by rewarding new contracts to Jordon Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, which will have cost the club money with increased wages and signing-on bonuses.

The one player that they haven’t managed to negotiate a new deal with yet is Salah, and with his current deal set to expire in 2023, the club have to be concerned about the future of their top star.

I would be worried if I were a Liverpool fan if Salah doesn’t agree a new deal soon.

After Jürgen Klopp’s recent comments describing his player as “the best in the world”, there isn’t going to be a better offer on the table for Salah from the club than now. And if the Egyptian is unhappy with the offer, then Liverpool’s owner would see selling the player at the end of the season as a real option rather than let him leave on a free the following year.

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