No footballer is ever truly irreplaceable. Legends will eventually call time on their illustrious careers, and others will ultimately step into their shoes. However, in Mo Salah, Liverpool have a player who is as close to irreplaceable as you can get in world football.
The frightening thing is that, in a parallel universe, the Kop might no longer be serenading the 31-year-old to the tune of ‘Sit Down’ by James had the Reds blinked in the wake of a £150m transfer offer from Saudi Arabia at the start of this month, or if the Egyptian had clamoured for such a move.
Amid the four players signed during the summer who’ve helped to rejuvenate our midfield, perhaps the single best decision made by the Anfield hierarchy in 2023 is to stand firm on their stance that the man in the number 11 for shirt simply isn’t for sale.
Death and taxes are two of life’s inevitabilities. Liverpool fans would feel like adding a third entry to that list – Salah registering a goal contribution when he’s involved in a match for his club.
Those who peruse top football betting sites in the hope of a fruitful flutter would take one look at the markets for a game involving Jurgen Klopp’s side and instantly be tempted to back the Egyptian for first goalscorer, just as he was in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over West Ham.
When the 31-year-old isn’t among the goals himself, he’s setting them up. In fact, he’s either scored or assisted in his last 13 matches for the Reds in all competitions, a sequence which began almost five months ago in a dramatic 4-3 win against Tottenham.
Salah was on target that day and also netted in subsequent 1-0 wins over Fulham and Brentford. His 2022/23 season ended with a hat-trick of assists against Leicester, with one more in the draws against Aston Villa and Southampton. Six games, three goals, five assists.
He’s picked up where he left off when the 2023/24 campaign got underway, with four assists across our three away matches so far in the Premier League (Chelsea, Newcastle, Wolves) and a goal in every game at Anfield (Bournemouth, Villa, West Ham).
That’s a dozen top-flight encounters in a row in which he’s registered a goal contribution, and you can extend that to a baker’s dozen when including all competitions, having found the net in the 3-1 win over LASK in the Europa League last Thursday.
Consistency is one of the most oft-cited words in footballing lexicon, a commodity that all managers and supporters crave. Salah is the epitome of that 11-word noun, guaranteeing his involvement on the scoreboard whenever he pulls on a Liverpool shirt.
Only one player has a higher combined tally of goals and assists in the Premier League so far this term, and you’ve probably guessed correctly that it’s Erling Haaland, who’s struck eight times already.
There’s been plenty of pundits getting their spoke in and insisting that the Reds should’ve taken the money on offer from Saudi Arabia for the Egyptian a few weeks ago, or that they should do so if the Al-Ittihads of this world come back in for him in January.
Let’s just be glad they’re not involved in the boardroom at Anfield. Those at the top know just how pivotal Salah is to Klopp’s rejuvenated side, one of the few constants from the title-winning 2019/20 crop.
Forget his age and forget the fees that the Saudis were willing to pay – Liverpool would’ve been stone cold crazy if they cashed in on a genuine club legend, particularly when the English transfer window had already shut.