It’s laughable to look back on the criticism Liverpool drew after confirming the £36.9 million signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma last June.
Most Premier League fans thought the Reds were overpaying for a mere Chelsea reject, despite him scoring 29 goals in 65 Serie A appearances for his previous club.
Over the course of the ensuing seven months, those doubters couldn’t be made to look more wrong.
Salah has shone brighter than any other player in England, contributing 36 goals and ten assists across all competitions this term.
In contrast to the predictable speedster who wore a Chelsea shirt on just 19 occasions between 2014 and 2016, the Egyptian has been close to unplayable at times under Jurgen Klopp.
The German boss is blessed to have arguably the deadliest forward line in Europe with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane lining up alongside Salah, but there’s more to their success than good fortune alone.
The fluidity and dynamism of the trio are underpinned by careful decision decisions – one of which Klopp has revealed involved playing Salah out of position.
KLOPP EXPLAINS SALAH EXPERIMENT
“He [Salah] played more on the wing in Rome for example where he had a very dominant striker in [Edin] Dzeko. Nobody could know [that he could play as a striker]. We learnt it step by step. Without consistency, we couldn’t know for certain but in the pre-season, we knew," the Liverpool boss said, per Goal.
“You need to learn as a team, ‘Where is he?’ because there isn’t always time for searching. I don’t know exactly how many goals he [Salah] has scored but obviously a few, so it’s normal that you talk about that. He’s not only a striker, and whatever only a striker is; only a finisher. It’s not like he is not involved in anything else. He’s a very interesting package.”
It’s safe to say Klopp has got the best out of the ‘very interesting package’ he has at his disposal.
Having already replaced Fernando Torres as most prolific Liverpool player in a debut season, Salah is on course to surpass Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez for the most goals in a Premier League campaign.
His phenomenal performances have even drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi – not that such form deserves any special consideration according to Klopp.
“We will not treat him like, ‘You don’t have to train, Mo – just come on Saturday for the game and we’ll see you there at Anfield or whatever.’ He doesn’t want that. He’s exactly in the moment of his career but he knows there is a lot for him to come.”
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