Published on June 24th, 2017 | by David Kraakman0
Pricey but perfect: Why Mohamed Salah is right man for Liverpool
Liverpool have spent big on Roma winger, Mohamed Salah, but an astute Jurgen Klopp has picked up the perfect player for his Anfield ambitions
It’s not even July and Liverpool has made their first signing of intent. After a couple of weeks of negotiations, the Merseyside team has signed Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma for a reported fee of €42M, making him the most expensive African player of all time.
For Liverpool, the signing of Salah marks a good start in what will be an essential transfer window. Manager Jürgen Klopp has made it clear that he is looking to strengthen the team with three/four key players rather than six/seven good players like former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers (2012-2016) often did.
Klopp has known Salah for a while saying “I have followed him since he emerged at Basel and he has matured into a really good player”, adding that, “Mohamed has the perfect mix of experience and potential – this is a really exciting signing for us”.
"That's what you need in our team. You can't have any passengers." 💪
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 24, 2017
The German manager is delighted with the signing and so are the Liverpool fans. In current form the Salah is a great addition to the side, however, it didn’t always look like Salah would reach these heights.
Since his spell at Basel, whom he joined in 2012 after impressing back in Egypt for El Mokawloon, the 25-year-old has experienced an unstable career. In the winter of 2014, Salah left Basel to play for José Mourinho’s Chelsea. His two goals in the Champions League group stages against the Stamford Bridge side earlier that season caught the eye of some Premier League sides including Liverpool. Salah chose to move to the capital, though.
In London, the pacy dribbler never got a fair chance, featuring just 501 minutes in his twelve months at the club. Chelsea had no space for Salah and decided to send him out on loan to Fiorentina in the January transfer window of 2015. In Italy, Salah enjoyed a good six months and attracted interested from AS Roma who signed the Egyptian international on loan the following season with the option to make the deal permanent.
His first season for Roma – wherein he scored fourteen times in the Serie A – convinced I Giallorossi to sign Salah for a reported fee of just €15M. Along with Bosnian striker Edin Džeko, Salah formed a deadly partnership in the 2016/17 season, scoring a combined total of 44 goals in Serie A. The Egyptian Messi, as Italian media were calling him, delivered the best season of his career so far. Something which Liverpool quickly acknowledged and acted accordingly.
What does Mohamed Salah bring to Anfield?
When Sadio Mané left to play for the Africa Cup of Nations at the start of 2017, Liverpool’s form dropped off dramatically. In the space of a month, a title challenge changed into a top-four fight. Liverpool lost an element of their game which is key for any team: pace. You need players that can stretch the play and create space between the lines for players like Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana. Next to his ability add width, Salah is also a prolific winger, hitting double figures for both goals and assists in Serie A last season.
And finally, a characteristic which will really excite Klopp is his hard-working mentality. With Firmino already present in the frontline, the attack will instigate Liverpool’s pressing just like legendary No9 Ian Rush did back in the 80s and 90s.
If Liverpool can replicate those glory days remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, though; With the signing of Salah, the Reds have made a good start and look to be heading in the right direction.