herald

Saturday 7 December 2019

John Aldridge: Pool badly need Salah to get his mojo back

Mohamed Salah seems to be lacking in confidence
Mohamed Salah seems to be lacking in confidence

Mohamed Salah has been a shadow of his former self in recent weeks and I can come up with a handful of reasons why Liverpool's main man is misfiring so badly.

Jurgen Klopp had to take Salah off against Brighton last Saturday as he stank the place out and if he was being honest, the Egyptian would have thanked his manager for putting him out of his misery by dragging him off the field after 69 minutes.

The form he is showing right now is a million miles away from his 44-goal campaign from a couple of years back and also the displays he served up last season when he was sporadically brilliant and produced some real moments of magic.

I can't put my finger on where it has gone wrong for Salah because even though he has scored six Premier League goals so far, we can all see he is not the player we got used to seeing in his first two years at Liverpool.

He has set his standards incredibly high at Anfield and maybe it is asking too much for him to deliver that level of performance year after year, but it would be good to know why he has fallen off the sporting cliff in recent months.

It may be that he is jaded after another summer disrupted by international duty and didn't have a proper pre-season working with the Liverpool fitness staff and getting himself into good shape.

It might also be a confidence issue. I remember how I felt playing for Ireland and going 19 games without a goal at the start of my international career and it does get to you.

When a chance comes your way, you snatch at it and you go into games with a slightly different mindset, more desperate to score a goal than wanting or expecting to get one.

That's not a good place for a forward to be in.

We have seen Salah hitting shots this season that have missed by such wide margins that it has to be affecting his self-belief and while one goal can change everything for a striker, it feels like he needs a little more to get back to the sparkling form we know he is capable of.

It may be that Salah is carrying an injury we don't know about and that could explain why he has been so far off the pace, with my final theory being he has had his head turned and might want to make a move to Barcelona, Real Madrid or somewhere else in 2020.

I hope the last of those theories is not the problem here because Liverpool have given Salah a wonderful platform to become one of the world's top players and I hope he stays around for a good few years and gets back to doing what he does best in a red shirt.

Salah's form is not the only concern for Klopp ahead of tonight's Merseyside derby because Roberto Firmino also had to be taken off against Brighton at the weekend after his latest limp performance.

Sadio Mane has carried the forward line to an extent this season and goals have come from other areas of the team, but Liverpool has done well to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table when you consider they have two of their key men horribly out of touch.

I was squirming in my seat high in the stands at Anfield on Saturday as Liverpool did their best to throw away two points against Brighton, with the late red card for Alisson Becker allowing the tension that will inevitably creep into this title challenge to come to the surface.

Even though we are still in the first week of December, Liverpool fans realise they will never have a better chance to end this 30-year wait for a league title than we have this season and there is desperation not to mess this up.

Klopp is doing a great job of keeping things calm and not getting carried away with the position his team are in, but it is tough for the fans to maintain that focus as they want it so badly.

Tension from the stands can affect the Liverpool players, so the Anfield faithful has a big job to do in the derby game against Everton this evening as they look to cheer the team on to another victory.

I'm surprised that Everton manager Marco Silva has survived in his job for long enough to lead his team into tonight's game, as he has been hanging on to an increasingly frayed thread in the last few weeks and it might well snap this evening.

Everton go in search of their first win of this century at Anfield tonight and I just can't see it happening, with Klopp hoping his side will continue its winning form and that Salah gets his mojo back.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News