If you believe the reports from the last couple of days then Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG are willing to pay up to £200 million for Liverpool’s own Mohamed Salah. As you would expect Liverpool also want to keep the player who has arguably had the best breakout season in Premier League history and will look to knock back any attempts to buy Salah’s services. Given the club’s initial stance on Coutinho then it doesn’t seem outlandish that they could keep hold of their new star player and in my opinion the job of keeping Salah at Liverpool is a more important job than doing the same with ex-players Phillipe Coutinho and Luis Suarez.
We’ll start with Luis Suarez, this article isn’t about who is the best player out of the three because if it was Suarez wins no question. What makes his sale is less important is that at the time Suarez was playing two levels above everyone else in the squad, Liverpool couldn’t compete with the likes of Barcelona and with them qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since Benitez left funds were needed to ensure Liverpool had a big enough squad to compete on all fronts the following season. This is why with a heavy heart, Liverpool fans wished Suarez well on his move to Spain, he had more than earned it by taking the club the closest they’ve ever been to the Premier League title and now the club had a transfer kitty close to £100 million to spend on new players.
We all know how the money was spent but that’s irrelevant to the argument, of course it would have been great to keep a player with the class of Luis Suarez but the deal was a good one for all parties involved. Suarez had made no secret of his desire to leave the season before so whilst nobody wanted to admit it the move was on the cards from the moment the season ended right up to when he took a chunk out of Chiellini’s shoulder.
With Coutinho there’s a difference to the Suarez situation, Jurgen Klopp was and still is in the process of building something great at the club and whilst a move to Barcelona is always lucrative there were plenty of incentives to stay on Merseyside. Whilst there isn’t much proof to it yet there is a general feeling around the club that the squad Liverpool have is capable of competing against the best in Europe and that wasn’t something we could guarantee Suarez in his time here.
My issue with Coutinho – and the reason I think why Klopp eventually let him leave – was that whilst he was a world class player in my opinion he felt shoehorned into the side. Since the Brazilians departure we’ve seen more of what Klopp wanted from his side, a hard working midfield that could support the front three but also protect the back four and a front three that has a hard working false nine flanked by two pacey wingers with bags full of technical ability. The team has no doubt improved on last season but they’ve also improved on the first half of this season and if you combine that with the departure of Coutinho then it doesn’t seem as much of a coincidence as you first think.
Phillipe Coutinho was a world class player and that’s why – despite not fitting the mould of Klopp’s team – it still worked. The dream of having our current front three supported by Coutinho in midfield was great on paper but in reality whilst Coutinho’s ability was amazing going forward, he didn’t put in the work that was required by a member of the midfield three. Because of this more defensive work was then asked of the other two midfielders and it made our attack look a bit one dimensional as everything went through our number 10.
Salah, Mane and Firmino’s performances have hit another level since the departure of Coutinho, every player from the goalkeeper to the striker knows their job roles and the whole team is benefiting from it as a result. The midfield may currently be lacking a bit of creativity but that will be fixed next season with the arrival of Naby Keita, in the meantime; if Oxlade-Chamberlain can find a bit of consistency then he has enough ability to get us through to the end of the season.
Now on to Mohamed Salah, the man is vital to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and to cash in on the player before we’ve even started to consistently challenge for trophies is a small time mentality. Reports have come out saying that Liverpool are not selling Salah this summer but if he continues in this vein of form then just this summer isn’t good enough, we’ve already had one player denied a move one window and then shipped off in the next but if Liverpool want to challenge in European and Domestic competitions then we shouldn’t sell Salah until we’ve got everything we need out of him.
As a club we no longer need the money to reinvest in the squad, we’re progressing in the Champions League and look in a good place to qualify for the competition next season too. If that’s the case then we will have access to funds that rival clubs have been getting for the past five years. There shouldn’t be any reason why Salah should want to leave, he was at a Roma team that was consistently qualifying for the Champions League and were competing for trophies every sesaon and choose to leave them for a team that’s finished inside the top 4 of their league twice in 8 years.
That’s because of Jurgen Klopp, Mohamed Salah was persuaded by the manager to come here; that manager is still in charge and has got him playing in the form of his life. The lure of money is always big but in football terms there is no better club for Salah to be at than Liverpool. The transition from Phillipe Coutinho to Salah as Liverpool’s main man is the dawn of a new era at Liverpool, paired with Van Dijk in defence it’s a new look Liverpool team – a Jurgen Klopp Liverpool team – that is hunting for trophies and Mohamed Salah is the spearhead of that pursuit.
For the first time since Benitez left we’re no longer at a point where we’re building a project and talking about where Liverpool are going to be in three or four years time, with Jurgen Klopp it’s all coming together very rapidly; with Mohamed Salah, Van Dijk and Naby Keita all at the club by July 1st 2018 Jurgen Klopp has got a spine of player’s he has recruited to do a job that he knows they can execute at a world class level.
That is why keeping Mohamed Salah at Liverpool is more important that keeping Coutinho and Suarez was, he’s the first in a hopefully long line of Jurgen Klopp players that are deemed good enough to be playing for the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid but with the best squad Liverpool have had in ten years, it’s time they put their big boy pants on; blocked any pursuits of our players and build a team that is more than capable of beating the best in the world.
Article by Louis Connor
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