Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is unrecognisable from his usual free-scoring self this season.
That’s the view of Peterborough United chairman and Liverpool fan Darragh MacAnthony. Speaking on his The Hard Truth podcast, MacAnthony expressed his disappointment at Salah’s form.
“I was thinking about this on Saturday. They get a lot of criticism for selling their best players. Suarez, Coutinho, people like that and whatever,” began the chairman. “But you look at some of the players where they have changed that tact now and they have kept Firmino and Salah past the age of 30 and they have paid them massive, big contracts.
“And you’re like, was it better if they went at 28? If we had sold Mo Salah a year ago and got £60, 70, 80 million for Salah? Because I’m watching him at the moment and he’s the other side of 30 and he’s on half a million a week, and I’m a Mo Salah fan, and I don’t recognise him.
“Yeah, the team isn’t playing well but he plays a big part of that. He can’t hold the ball up to save his life, his chance to scoring rate has dropped off a cliff and now you’re like well I’ve got another two and half years of him on half a million. Does that get better when you go past the age of 30?
“A player like Salah when the game is pace, agility, fitness, pressing – as you get older – and I’m not writing him off, but I’m just looking at it going, you know…”
Salah not the same
It’s fair to say that there will be few Liverpool fans echoing MacAnthony’s thoughts right now. Salah simply hasn’t got going at all this season.
Of course, he’s far from alone in that respect for the Reds. But having made Mo the best paid player in the club’s history in the summer, it’s reasonable to expect more from him.
On one hand, an argument could be made that Salah is still delivering. The Egyptian somehow has 17 goals this season. Seen through the prism of his recent lean form, that’s not bad going. It makes him comfortably Liverpool’s top scorer this season at any rate.
Mo simply isn’t passing the eye test, though. As MacAnthony points out, he looks to have lost a little of everything that has made him such a threat for so long. Liverpool’s No.11 often seems to be crowded out of games far too easily by opposition defences.
It may be the case that while at one stage defenders were having to worry about a triple-threat in Liverpool’s attack, they now know that if they cut off Salah, that’s more than half the battle.
As Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo settle in further, this will hopefully start to iron out. Salah and Nunez showed signs earlier in the season that they were starting to understand each other on the pitch. No matter how well they get to know each other’s games though, Nunez will never be Sadio Mane. Perhaps Mo is simply missing the on-pitch presence of his old mate. Either way, MacAnthony is spot on, we need to see more.
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