Over 6,700 Liverpool fans vote on whether Klopp should start Mohamed Salah against Manchester City ⚔️
87.6% of supporters were in favour of one option... but would this be the right call?
Mohamed Salah has not been himself for quite some time now.
That statement may have some scratching their heads whilst looking at the numbers posted since his return from the African Cup of Nations.
Indeed, on paper, a rate of five goal contributions in eight games (based on a minutes tally of 548, which equates to a goal or assist every 109.6 minutes) looks far from poor.
Compare that against a total of 25 goal contributions in 21 games (on a minutes tally of 1,874, which equates to a goal or assist every 74.96 minutes) and it’s clear there has been a drop-off, though perhaps not as diabolical a one as many commentators have pointed to.
That’s, of course, a very flattering view of our Egyptian King’s efforts in recent weeks which ignores the concerning underlying stats.
One figure that stands out is the No.11’s lack of a goal in open play in the English top-flight since the 3-1 win over Norwich City in mid-February.
It’s the kind of slump that prompted this from Liverpool legend, John Aldridge, for Sky Sports: “If you are going by form, Mo would not get in the team. As great as he is and as much as we love him, he is struggling.”
Is there an explanation for such struggles?
Some will undoubtedly point to the ongoing contract saga between club and player, with there still yet to be a breakthrough in negotiations between the two parties.
On the other hand, it’s not an issue that appeared to affect the 29-year-old’s form a great deal prior to the AFCON.
Speaking about his star man, Jürgen Klopp alluded to the pressures of international football on both Salah and Sadio Mané.
To be completely fair to our top goalscorer, one can only imagine the hardship of having lost a final in the AFCON only to be knocked out of the World Cup in a qualifying clash against the very same opponent and teammate.
It’s rather telling that, following the experience, our No.10 has flourished, whilst Salah’s fortunes have gone in the opposite direction.
The former Roma hitman looked noticeably haggard during our 3-1 Benfica victory - so perhaps then it’s merely the mental/emotional/physical fatigue earned from his recent, heavy international commitments?
Whatever the reason, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Liverpool supporter keen on the idea of benching the attacker for our upcoming crunch title clash with Manchester City this weekend.
Nonetheless, given the importance of our next fixture, we shouldn’t be inclined to ignore the concerns of the few.
Though, there is the distinct possibility that this is exactly the kind of game designed to bring the best out of Mohamed Salah.
High stakes. A game to remember for neutrals and one side in particular.
Why shouldn’t the Egyptian be central in the kind of game that would be befitting of a world-class performance from the man who, up until recently, was judged to be the globe’s leading talent?
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have to start Salah he's been phenomenal for us one has to bear in mind that he just missed out on WC qualification and the Africa cup to his teammate... he will be amazing today
he has been a pasenger lately bench him