JUST IN: Liverpool’s perfect Mohamed Salah replacement as Salah might not return from …

Liverpool are about to get another glimpse into their future – having to find a way to replace Mohamed Salah.

The forward has departed for the African Cup of Nations and will miss at least four Reds matches during his time away with Egypt. Should the Pharaohs progress past the group-stages, a run to the final would rule him out of seven Liverpool games (rising to 10 depending on FA Cup progress and potential replays).

Jurgen Klopp has been here before, having had to find a short-term replacement for the 31-year-old when he competed in the continental competition back in January 2022. On that occasion, Salah would miss six games (the Reds won five and drew the other) as Kaide Gordon, Takumi Minamino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Diogo Jota all took turns to deputise on the right in his absence.

With Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, and Dominik Szoboszlai now senior alternatives, along with Jota, Klopp isn’t overly phased by the prospect of being without Salah for the next month.

“We have to deal with it and we will deal with it. … Not really (had) a lot (of preparation without Salah),” Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Friday. “I think we played against West Ham without Mo on that side when Harvey played there.

“We all know in the moment, hopefully it stays that way, we have different offensive options who can all play that wing in a different way. Nobody, not Harvey, not anybody else who plays that wing, should play like Mo.

“It is not possible so we just have to find another way and have to use the boys with their skills. That’s exactly the idea behind.

“Do we want to play without Mo? No, but if we have to. In the past we didn’t have to do it that often but we always found a way to get through these periods. I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine.”

Liverpool have played 313 matches in the Premier League and Champions League over the past six and a half years, having signed Salah in the summer of 2017. Remarkably, he has only been completely unavailable for eight of these games.

The Reds are actually unbeaten across those eight matches, winning six – including the famous 4-0 victory over Barcelona in May 2019. But replacing Salah for an occasional game is a very different scenario to when finding a long-term successor once his Anfield career comes to an end.

Set to turn 32 in June, the forward is out of contract in 2025. Still attracting high-profile and big-money interest from Saudi Arabia, it is unavoidable that he will not be at Liverpool forever.

Of course, the Reds could unearth an internal replacement with the likes of Elliott, Gordon, and Ben Doak all highly-rated youngsters. But having seen Klopp replace the long-serving Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, and Cody Gakpo, it would be a surprise if Liverpool didn’t turn to the transfer market again when the time comes.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.