Mo Salah, it’s time to leave Liverpool, protect your legacy and let the club rebuild


MO Salah might as well kick a puppy. Or shoot Bambi. Or commit any of those horrific, over-the-top acts that are often held up as examples of the worst in humanity. But he goes further. He offended the Liverpool Saint.

You can’t do that to Jurgen Klopp. He never walked alone on Merseyside. He walks on water. He is blameless and untouchable and his imminent departure will only add to the martyrdom surrounding Anfield.

You shouldn’t kick a man when he’s depressed, let alone a mythical figure who once commanded a psychological monster. But Liverpool struggled, Klopp lingered, and Salah played anyway, arguing openly with his respected manager on the touchline.

If the Egyptian is making a statement, it may turn out to be a bigger statement than he initially intended. The silly tantrum on the touchline suggested the end of a beautiful friendship, but not an immediate one between Klopp and Salah. Yes, it’s beautiful too, as the fatherly German guides his doting in the direction of every trophy worth winning. But the rift went deeper. A dynasty is collapsing.

Maybe it’s time for Salah to follow Klopp out of Anfield.

The forward has just one year left on his contract and could be tempted by Saudi Arabia’s cash, but there’s more at stake than just dollars and cents. While silly squabbles between managers and players usually add to the pantomime experience of the Premier League, that won’t happen between Klopp and his Reds. This doesn’t happen at Liverpool. They never involved Salah. Not just once. Within seven years.

In fact, just last week Bastian Schweinsteiger sat down with Gary Neville and used Liverpool as the benchmark for everything United are not: a well-run, well-financed, smartly-purchased team And the team of the clean team. Reds don’t wash their dirty laundry in public or in private. Just like the brand name cleaner, Klopp removes all stubborn stains.

But while Klopp is still here, dirty things are creeping in now. This is a concern. There were similar traces in the final days of Wenger’s reign at Arsenal, with the club having to wash and repeat twice before Mikel Arteta began to light up the place.

Sir Alex Ferguson was the last of the sheepskin tyrants, keeping everything in-house until his retirement at Manchester United. David Moyes also suffered the consequences. Oh, these were his thoughts as he stood on the West Ham touchline at the weekend, watching the schoolboy drama between Salah and Klopp. A declining dynasty, a departed icon and a frustrated legend. It’s Groundhog Day for Moyes.

Back in 2013, he had to contend with Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, a group of egos increasingly aware that the lights were dimming: both in the dressing room and at Old Trafford. Rufford Stadium. Moyes was not really expected to shed light on the whole process. He was ignored and United never recovered.

Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance in the Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield.Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance in the Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance in the Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield. (Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP)

But Salah is not taking Klopp seriously right now. No matter what the two men discussed, and no matter whether their grievances were justified or not, Liverpool players challenged Klopp’s authority in public. This is no accident.

In the mixed zone, an area where players are invited to stop and talk to reporters – but rarely do – Salah walked by and said, “If I spoke, there would be a fire today.” His response was calculated, Because he has little basis for speaking. liverpool echoSalah has only spoken publicly twice in seven years in the mixed zone. Even in an inconsequential pre-season friendly at the National Stadium in Singapore, Salah smiled and waved. But he didn’t speak.

Now, with three games remaining in the season – Klopp’s last at the club – Salah has promised to “fire up” if he explains the situation between himself and the manager . What does he hope to achieve?

Salah’s salary is reportedly a unique incentive deal, starting at £350,000 a week and rising to £400,000 if he meets the criteria. Since signing his latest contract in mid-2022, Salah has scored 54 times. He has checked a lot of boxes. The relationship is productive for all parties. His legacy is safe.

But equally, the Egyptian has struggled since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with a hamstring injury. His signature burst of speed has kept him from penetrating, making it harder for him to cut inside. Of the 41 games he has played, only 14 have come since the African Cup of Nations (only 8 of them started). Whatever the reason, another late cameo against West Ham seemed to be the final straw for both player and manager.

Liverpool’s next manager is expected to be Arne Slott, who will likely listen to the ghosts of past coaching legends and remember that it wasn’t just the exits of Ferguson and Wenger that contributed to the downturn at their respective clubs. They are also the players they retained.

The difference between a supportive club legend and a restless aging misfit can be measured by the type of manager in the dugout. Slott may be hoping for Salah’s undoubted skills at Anfield. On the other hand, he might want to plop the Egyptian into Saudi Arabia and invest the proceeds in a younger, fitter forward who is less likely to berate the coach on the touchline.

Cynics might argue that Liverpool’s decline since their Carabao Cup triumph reflects their own decline. Salah’s fatigue has been replicated elsewhere (although it would be unfair to blame him for the Reds’ disastrous defending.)

But the blame is also unfair and unnecessary. Why tarnish the reputations of both parties? Salah certainly looked broken, just as Klopp looked tired. Their power is waning, but the overlay of hysteria makes us feel ungrateful, like it feels disrespectful for them to spend their final days like kids bickering on a playground.

Salah and Klopp created something special at Anfield, a period of dizzying euphoria that will be remembered for decades to come. While their dominance is ending, they have a responsibility to do the right thing. Both should leave Liverpool, but with their lives intact.

Salah and Klopp created something special at Anfield, a period of dizzying euphoria that will be remembered for decades to come. While their dominance is ending, they have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Neil Humphreys is an award-winning football writer and best-selling author who has covered the Premier League since 2000 and has written 28 books.

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