IAN LADYMAN: Mohamed Salah’s role at Liverpool is evolving… with Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez ascending, Jurgen Klopp no longer relies on him like he once did and for the first time in a long time it is possible to imagine a future without him
- Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool hammered Manchester United 7-0
- There was however a nod to life without Salah at Anfield as their attack evolves
- Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota have all been well recruited
If you are a Liverpool supporter then Sunday was about lots of things. Relief. Revenge. Renewed hope. It was also about Mo Salah, whose two goals edged him ahead of Robbie Fowler as Liverpool’s all time record Premier League goal scorer. It genuinely seemed to mean something to him, too, which was good to see.
More widely, however, Salah’s place at Anfield is changing.
The truth is that Liverpool do not rely on the Egyptian quite like they used to. His role in Jurgen Klopp’s team is slowly evolving and changing. For the first time in a long time, it is possible to imagine a future without him.
Salah will be 31 in June and at that stage will have two years left on his current Liverpool deal. Will the club allow him to run that down and leave on a free in 2025? By that time he would have given eight years to the club.
Or will they sell him a year earlier in a bid to at least rake in a fraction of what he has been worth to them over all that time? It’s hard to know but what is certain is that it is possible now to detect a glimpse of what Liverpool’s attack may look like going forward.
Liverpool players including Mohamed Salah (middle) couldn’t hide their smiles at full-time
Salah scored twice in the rout but Liverpool no longer rely on him like they previously have
Darwin Nunez (left) and Cody Gakpo (right) are ascending and Salah’s role is now evolving
There as a time when Liverpool had a ‘Fab Four’. Salah, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. When Firmino leaves this summer, only Salah will be left.
But clever clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester City refresh as they go along. They see the forks in the road and make sure they are ready.
So as times change at Anfield, so players such as Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo have been recruited and brought to the fore. All these players have something to prove.
Gakpo, for all his excellence on Sunday, is new and raw. Nunez is explosive, hugely talented but inconsistent at this stage. While Diaz and Jota have suffered injuries.
Nevertheless, it is possible to see a future of a Liverpool attack that is constructed around these players.
Salah will be part of the transition. He remains fundamental right now and has scored 11 Premier League goals so far this season. He scored 32 in 2017-18 but that was outlier. Usually he comes in at around the 21/22/23 mark.
He could get somewhere close to that if he goes on a run, now. But in Nunez and Gakpo the support is there.
All Liverpool have to do now is pull off the same trick with the centre of their midfield.
Jurgen Klopp recruited well in attack and the Reds can now envisage a future without Salah
The Egyptian will have a role to play in the transition as his experience can guide young stars
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