Jurgen Klopp may have been motivated by more than Liverpool’s defensive concerns in his decision to take Mo Salah off the pitch after 69 minutes had gone.
The German told reporters after the 3-2 defeat at the Emirates stadium (via the Metro): “I thought we can… so we had to defend again on a high level and we tried to put Hendo on that side there. Mo did unbelievable, a lot, really big, big workload, he put in a real shift.
“Sometimes it’s very intense and that’s why we thought we could do it with Hendo.
“We wanted still to win, even when we took a striker off.”
The Egyptian’s struggles to make an impact inside the opposition half, however, in particular the 18-yard-box, as was demonstrated by a tweet graphic from @Squawka, shows that there may have been an ulterior motive behind the substitution.
Mohamed Salah's fewest touches inside the opposition box in a PL game since joining Liverpool:
◉ 1 vs. Arsenal (69 mins, 2022)
◎ 1 vs. Brighton (64 mins, 2020)
◎ 1 vs. Chelsea (62 mins, 2021)
Silenced. 🤐 pic.twitter.com/azbbbcGUKr
— Squawka (@Squawka) October 10, 2022
On his day, there’s no question that the former Roma man is the best attacker in world football, though his current performances (much in a similar vein to several of his world-class teammates) are a far cry from his 2021/22 form.
What to do with the Egyptian King?
We’re of the mindset that an injury-enforced break away from football and the constant critique surrounding Liverpool Football Club wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Trent Alexander-Arnold.
We, of course, wouldn’t like to see the 30-year-old injured himself, though it’s difficult to see how else Jurgen Klopp can manage to get the best out of most reliable lieutenants without taking them out of the firing line.
It would be risky, to say the least, to see the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Mo Salah all denied a place in the first-XI, though perhaps the solution lies in handing opportunities to younger stars to inject some much-needed intensity back into our performances.