Jack Hallows is so excited about the links to Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah of AS Roma that he’s added him immediately to his summer shortlist.
It’s safe to say that I am personally ecstatic to see the Reds linked with this man. The Egyptian winger is one of my favourite attacking players in the Serie A and it had been puzzling me why, if Jürgen Klopp was looking for a pacy option to play on either wing, he hadn’t been considering a move for Salah.
With the ever-reliable Melissa Reddy claiming that alternatives are being lined up after the Reds seemingly missed out on Julian Brandt, Salah has been touted as one of those names. As a result, he is now well and truly on my summer Shortlist.
Pace, flair and end-product
A highly versatile attacker, Salah has been on Liverpool’s radar since before Klopp arrived at the club. Salah turned down the Reds in 2014 in favour of a move to Chelsea but failed to break into the first team on a consistent basis before being sent out on loan to Fiorentina and then Roma – who he joined permanently last summer – where he’s been a key player ever since.
The winger possesses serious pace, with his ability to confidently burn opposition players time and again reminiscent of what we’ve seen from Sadio Mané on many occasions this season.
He has been a hugely key player for Roma over the last two seasons due to his ability to both help spring fast counter attacks by blitzing opponents but also his superb positioning when capping them off.
Interestingly though, for a man with so much pace, Salah does not attempt many take-ons having completed just 32 this season – less than half of what Mané has managed.
Salah is a more traditional winger in comparison to someone like Philippe Coutinho and often operates in a wider position but his ability to bend his runs centrally makes him an incredibly dangerous proposition, especially with his impressive end-product record.
The Egyptian has an impressive 17 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season and his record of 13 goals and 10 assists in 28 Serie A appearances this season is nothing short of phenomenal.
Salah has an impressive conversion rate of 23% – he scores one goal with roughly every 4 shots he manages to put on target – while his record of 13 league goals from 73 total shots is second only to Sadio Mané when compared to Liverpool’s attackers with 10+ goals.
The Egyptian is also equally adept creatively, setting up 69 chances for teammates this season with 10 of those resulting in assists – only Roberto Firmino has created more chances than Salah this season, with 72.
When it comes to chances created per 90, however, Salah walks away with the best stats with ease. The Egyptian creates 2.7 chances per 90 which is comfortably more than Coutinho (2.5), Firmino (2.17) and Mané (1.7) have managed this season.
The first point to look at when working out suitability for a Klopp team is, of course, does he work hard and can he defend from the front? The answer to both of these questions is yes.
The Egyptian forward has won 21 tackles this season which is more than Sadio Mané (18) and only three less than Philippe Coutinho (24). He has also managed to win 45.99% of his total duels this season which is more than any Liverpool attacker aside from Mané (47.35%).
Of course, it’s always hard to gauge just how hard a player has to work in their respective systems with many managers being far less demanding of their front line than Jürgen Klopp.
Considering his pace, physicality, previous Premier League experience – he made 13 appearances for Mourinho’s Chelsea and scored two goals – and considerably impressive end product – 27 league goals for Roma in 62 appearances – I would be very surprised to see him struggle to fit into Klopp’s system.
He’s also only 24 years old which puts him right in both Klopp and FSG’s preferred age bracket as he’s already formed an impressive ability level with further space to just continue improving.
The biggest stumbling block Liverpool might have if they do go in for Salah is that Roma is very good at playing hardball and holding onto their star players.
The likes of Florenzi, Manolas, De Rossi, Nainggolan and Antonio Rudiger have all been linked with big moves away in recent years but by one means or another, Roma has managed to hold onto them.
There is also whether or not the player would actually want to move on to a side where he wouldn’t be guaranteed first team football every game. If the Reds retain the services of Coutinho, Salah will face a huge task to dislodge either the Brazilian or Mané from Klopp’s starting XI whereas if he stays at Roma he’s already an established key man.
Securing Champions League football will also likely be a must with Roma looking set to finish in either second or third in the Serie A this season.
Suitability: 8/10 – Likelihood: 7/10