Lackluster Liverpool show Salah’s true worth

LIVERPOOL (AFP) – Liverpool’s inability to break through an Arsenal side that played for over an hour with 10 men as Thursday’s League Cup semi-final first leg ended 0- 0 gave the Reds an ominous glimpse of what life could be like without Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian will be out for the rest of the month as he leads his country to the Africa Cup of Nations.

But there are also doubts over the long-term future of the Premier League’s top scorer with 18 months left on his contract and no sign of an agreement between the club and their star player.

“I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands,” Salah said in an interview with GQ magazine published this week.

“It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.

Salah has become a Liverpool legend since joining Roma five years ago.

He scored 148 goals in 229 games, ending a 30-year wait to win a league title and winning the club’s sixth European Cup along the way.

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino jumps for a header with Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney. PHOTO: AP

But he turns 30 in June and Liverpool’s data-centric US owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) fear they are paying too much for a player past his prime.

“Salah will want to be paid as well as any top player in the Premier League or world football and why not?” Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has told Sky Sports.

“The owners would not be forgiven if Mo Salah leaves this club this summer or in 18 months.”

The pressure is on FSG not just to tie down Salah, but to provide Jurgen Klopp with more forward options if they are to maintain the standards they have set over the past five years.

While Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all spent more than £100m ($137m) in the summer transfer window, Liverpool’s only purchase was £36m centre-back Ibrahima Konate, who is yet to establish himself as a first-team regular. .

Liverpool have long known that Salah and Sadio Mane were heading to Cameroon this month and the lack of strength in depth was revealed by some serious full-back action from the Gunners’ 10 men at Anfield.

Takumi Minamino inflated his lines with Liverpool’s best chances of the night on a rare start for the Japan international.

Roberto Firmino has been usurped by Diogo Jota as a regular starter alongside Salah and Mane this season and once again looked like a shadow of the player who was so essential to Klopp’s great triumphs at Anfield.

Meanwhile, the continued selection of 36-year-old James Milner reveals what Klopp is doing with his midfield options.

“Tell me a team that wouldn’t miss Sadio Mane and Mo Salah and Naby Keita. Of course we miss them,” Klopp said.

“We haven’t been creative enough, that’s for sure. We’ve done a lot of things not well enough.

Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge has already faded due to a three game winless streak.

With two more league matches and next week’s second leg against Arsenal before Salah and Mane return, Klopp fears the worst is yet to come.

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