One journalist believes that Mo Salah is ‘suffering’ from trying to find cohesion with two new forwards alongside him at Liverpool.
In each of his first five seasons at Anfield, the Egyptian typically played with Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino as part of the Reds’ front three. However, the Senegal star left for Bayern Munich last year, while the Brazilian is set to move on at the end of the current campaign.
Our number 11 now has Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez as his partners up top, and Ben Jacobs believes a change of tack from Jurgen Klopp is having a detrimental effect on the 30-year-old.
The CBS Sports reporter told GIVEMESPORT: “It wasn’t only Salah; it was a front three of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Salah.
“They all worked together very effectively and now Salah is having to play in a team where Cody Gakpo is new and everything is framed around trying to get Darwin Nunez to click and score more consistently.
“I think that Salah is suffering but when Klopp switches to a 4-4-2, Salah looks a lot more confident and is more of a threat. But what we’re seeing this season, and in fairness towards the back end of last season, Salah is having slightly less touches in the box.
“Also his heat map is a lot wider, he’s far more right sided getting into the box and into central areas a little bit less. That’s clearly impacting his goal scoring abilities, but that doesn’t mean he’s unhappy.”
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Jacobs does make one fair point about Salah needing to strike the same understanding with Gakpo and Nunez that he forged so brilliantly with Mane and Firmino, and seeing his role in the team tweaked as a result, but rumours of the Egyptian’s demise appear to have been greatly exagerrated.
While we’re used to seeing the 30-year-old rack up big numbers for Liverpool, it’s not as if his scoring stats have fallen off a cliff this season.
He’s still plundered 22 goals, averaging more than one per game in the Champions League, and it’s not like his recent form has plummeted either – he has five goals from his last seven matches (Transfermarkt).
Yes he may have been culpable of a horrible and costly penalty miss at Bournemouth, but even the greatest players can lose their nerve from 12 yards (Roberto Baggio instantly springs to mind).
You only have to look at the 7-0 drubbing of Manchester United to see the cohesion which is gradually blossoming among the front three of Salah, Gakpo and Nunez.
A 22-goal return with two-and-a-half months of the campaign still to go doesn’t quite indicate that the Egyptian is ‘suffering’ as much as some may think.
#Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!