When it comes to transfer windows, Liverpool tend to skip the last-gap trolley dash of deadline day. While other clubs scramble for signings, the Anfield club are usually more considered in their business, and so with Ibrahima Konate their only addition this summer, with the new Premier League season starting in just a few weeks, it seems unlikely many more will walk through the door.
Instead, this summer window will be defined by the progress, or lack thereof, Liverpool make in extending the contracts of a number of key players. There is edginess at Anfield amid this process after the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum at the end of last season, with recent reports even hinting that Jordan Henderson could leave in a similar manner due to an impasse on negotiations.
Mohamed Salah is another who has seemingly stalled on signing new terms with Liverpool. The Egyptian has openly flirted with Barcelona and Real Madrid, even conducting interviews with Spanish newspapers hinting at his desire to one day play in Spain. Salah still has two years left on his Liverpool contract, but the clock appears to be ticking.
This is why signing Salah to a new deal would be the best business Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield hierarchy could possibly do this summer. Everything Klopp has built at Liverpool revolves around the 29-year-old who has scored just 125 goals in just 203 appearances for the club over the last four years.
Without Salah, Liverpool’s current system wouldn’t work. Their attacking approach is designed to get Salah into as many threatening positions as possible, with Roberto Firmino frequently dropping deep to create space in behind for his Egyptian teammate to spin into. There is no player in European football right now better at making use of this space than Salah.
The way Liverpool play out from the back also depends on Salah. Virgil van Dijk is widely renowned for his physical attributes as an imposing defending, but the Dutchman also pushes his team out by angling diagonal passes into Salah, with the Egyptian adept at taking them down on his chest.
Salah’s understanding with Trent Alexander-Arnold as an overlapping full back would also be difficult to replicate should the 29-year-old be allowed to leave Anfield. Salah is part of a very effective, but delicate, eco-system. Klopp saw what happened when a part of that eco-system was removed last season, with van Dijk injured. Salah’s exit would be even more damaging.
“We are all responsible to make it happen,” Klopp recently said when asked just how important it is for Liverpool to tie down Salah to a contract extension. “He is a goalscoring machine. He is an outstanding signing but the way he has developed, the training and game preparation is exceptional. He is a role model.”
Of course, Liverpool must see to rejuvenate their squad to stay at the top of the English and European game. Some believe they should sell Salah and re-invest the money in young replacements who can ensure the future of the Merseyside club for years to come, and there is some logic to this theory.
Klopp must recognise the right time to move players on, but Salah is one figure he must keep around. The Egyptian is Liverpool’s greatest player of the modern era and the club’s fans deserve to watch him in red for several years more. What’s more, Anfield is the best place for Salah – where else will he find a club willing to build around him in the way Klopp has? Salah might be considering his options, but there is no better option for him right now than staying at Liverpool.
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