Mo Salah’s potential absence from Liverpool for up to seven matches during the AFCON has raised concerns among fans.
With the transfer window now open, there’s a heightened desire among supporters for new player acquisitions. Fans across the nation, including many Kopites, are vocalising their hopes for team enhancements in January. Some comments on Linda Pizzuti’s Instagram, the wife of Liverpool principal owner John Henry, suggest a sense of urgency, almost as if the team is battling relegation rather than contending for the title.
The competitive nature of the title race, with Manchester City closely trailing, underscores the importance of every player and every match. The margin for error is minimal.
Adding to the pressure, Liverpool will be without their star player, Mo Salah, who is set to participate in the African Cup of Nations. Salah’s impressive tally of 14 goals and eight assists this season further emphasizes his crucial role.
Liverpool currently lack a direct replacement for him in the squad. Should Egypt progress to the AFCON final, mirroring their performance two years prior against Sadio Mane’s Senegal, Salah’s absence could extend to seven matches.
Before the recent 4-2 victory over Newcastle United, Jurgen Klopp had not given detailed thought to Liverpool’s strategy during Salah’s potential absence. Klopp remarked:
“Each long-term plan I could have had depends massively on who is available so why should I think in October who should I use in January when Mo is away when I don’t know who is available?
“We have solutions today and I hope we have that after Newcastle as well. It is not the first time, it is a really very average situation that you lose your goal scorer but we had it even worse in the past when both Sadio and Mo left.”
Klopp can now rely on Diogo Jota, who has been in exceptional form since his return from injury, to play in the desired position. Additionally, Harvey Elliott is also an option for the flank.
Liverpool face further challenges with Salah’s departure, and there are concerns about Wataru Endo potentially missing several games. Endo, who joined Liverpool from Stuttgart this summer, has been performing impressively. His absence would undoubtedly be felt.
The ongoing demands for a new No.6 player have been persistent. While Endo was adjusting to his role and filling the gap left by Fabinho, Alexis Mac Allister’s skills in a defensive position were not fully utilized.
Andre Trindade from Fluminense became a focus of some fans on social media, although recent indications suggest he might join Fulham, especially after Liverpool’s prior unsuccessful attempt.
The left-back position is another concern for Liverpool. Both Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas are currently out due to injuries. While Joe Gomez has stepped up admirably, it’s not his primary position.
Despite the challenges, Klopp has been clear that Liverpool will only consider signings that align with the club’s long-term vision. When questioned about the possibility of signing a new centre-back after Joel Matip’s injury, Klopp responded firmly: “In eight years here, I just never understand this. You always talk about transfers as if they would be the easiest thing in the world.
“Just bring in a player, find the money for it, as if we have endless money. I really don’t understand it. Everybody, you, the fans, everyone talks about it. They all cost money. It has to be the right player. Tell me a club who wants to sell a top, top centre-half who could play for Liverpool?
“Why should we start that process? We’ve only known for a few days that Joel will be out for a long time, which is really bad for us. We still have four centre-halves which is absolutely alright. If we’d had a fifth one already in before that, then it would have been a completely different team dynamic. He wouldn’t have been involved and we wouldn’t have seen steps with him or him.
“It was perfect. Is it perfect now? I’d say as long as we can go with this four then yes. If not then it will be a bit more tricky with the amount of games coming up. It was never wonderland where you bring in a world-class centre-half until the other is fit again.
Other clubs don’t put them under the Christmas tree for us and say: ‘Take it and use it as long as you need it.’ I didn’t really think about it [buying a centre-back in January]. I don’t think so to be honest.”
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