Kevin Phillips has claimed ‘it’s a concern’ how much Liverpool missed Mo Salah and Sadio Mane during the goalless draw with Arsenal on Thursday.
The pair are currently representing their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations and Phillips has claimed that Takumi Minamino, one of the players that came into Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI in the pair’s absence, is ‘nowhere near’ the ability of Salah and Mane.
“In my opinion, he’s not good enough,” the former Sunderland striker told Football Insider.
“I’ve watched a fair bit of him now, and I just don’t see that consistency. I just don’t see a Liverpool player there.
“He’s nowhere near that same league as a Mane or a Salah.
“He gives them a different option, sure, but when it boils down to it he just hasn’t got that real quality. You need that if you’re going to be a top, top player in that Liverpool side.
“It’s a concern when two of the world’s best players are missing from your team, and it really showed against Arsenal.”
Our attack was rather blunt against Mikel Arteta’s men on Thursday – we only had one shot on target, which came from second-half substitute Curtis Jones, and we never really looked like scoring even if we did have over 70% of the possession.
Minamino has scored nine goals since he joined us from RB Salzburg, including a huge last-minute equaliser against Leicester in the quarter-final of the EFL Cup which we eventually won on penalties.
Of course, Salah and Mane are world-class players and it’s hard to find reinforcements that will be as good as them, but there does appear to be a huge difference in class between our starting XI and our substitutes.
The transfer window is currently open but it looks unlikely that we’ll add to our squad this month – the signings we make in the summer determine whether we can continue to challenge Manchester City in the near future or whether we’re happy to settle for a top-four finish each season.