Editor’s Column: Mo Salah’s potential new positions under Arne Slot

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It looks like Mo Salah will stay at Liverpool next season, after Sky Sports claimed the Egyptian will enter the last year of his Anfield contract, having given no indication of a desire to exit.

The fallout to his end of the season has been ugly. His form has been awful, likely influenced by the fact he’s had to come back from a long-term injury for the first time in years.

As a result, Jurgen Klopp dropped him, rightly or wrongly. Salah, enraged by this, hit out at the boss on the touchline before coming onto the field in the 2-2 draw with West Ham. It went viral everywhere and while the boss tried to quash it, Salah declared post-match that, ‘If I speak, there will be fire,’ which only fanned the flames.

Liverpool won’t win the title. We’ve messed it up during the run-in and the players, management and fans will have to live with that. It was a good effort but they fell short and Arsenal and Manchester City have proven themselves to be better teams and much more composed in decisive moments.

What next for Salah?

It might well be that a positional change will reinvigorate him.

He’s lost his ability to beat a defender with pace. He won’t go past someone with a dribble or a feint anymore – as his incredible speed is waning with age.

Salah is still though an insane creator. He’s made the most big chances for team-mates of any player in the entire Premier League. If Darwin Nunez wasn’t such a heinously bad finisher, he’d have the most assists, too.

Could Salah then play as a no.10?

Arne Slot’s Feyenoord play a 4-2-3-1, on paper.

But really, it works out as a 2-3-5. Two centre-backs holding their position, two fullbacks and an anchoring midfielder creating a defensive line in midfield, and five attackers.

There are almost two no.10s with licence to join the centre-forward and two wingers who stay wide and provide the team width, given the fullbacks start further in to form that bank of three in midfield.

Salah and, say, Alexis Mac Allister as roaming no.10s is quite an exciting thought. Both can pick a pass. Both can find runners. And the slightly inverted right-back spot could suit Trent Alexander-Arnold, adding to our ammo from deep.

We would need a finisher at no.9, though. Diogo Jota is too injured, sadly. And while Nunez provides exceptional movement and energy, his finishing is probably the worst I’ve ever seen of a top level footballer. Maybe he’ll find some composure next season. Who knows. But it’s more likely he should be considered an impact player in different positions in the frontline than someone you can rely on.

As well as the no.10 slot, Salah could become our no.9. He still has good movement to find some space and get into one-on-one situations, while his link-up play in tight areas around the penalty box is still very good. This would also stop him shooting from deep, which is a big weakness of his, and enable him to focus on finding space in the box, a big strength.

Liverpool need a new, young right-winger with speed and goals. Not easy to find and not cheap, which will enable Salah to move into a role which requires less dribbling.

Cristiano Ronaldo did it and played for another decade. In fact, he’s still going. Salah can too.

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