John Aldridge was in a state of disbelief over the lack of quality on show from Mo Salah in Liverpool’s latest defeat to a relegation-battling outfit in Bournemouth.
The Cherries secured a potentially huge victory in their fight to remain in the Premier League and capitalising on their game in hand could bring the club outside of the bottom-three.
“In the last few seasons, Klopp’s team had too much pace, power and desire for these relegation battlers to handle,” the ex-Red wrote in his column for Sunday World.
“Yet all that has changed – and I look at Mohamed Salah’s body language, and something isn’t right.
“After his goals against United last Sunday, I was looking to Salah to lead the team for the rest of the season and starring banging in two or three goals a week consistently.
“We all know how good Salah has been and still is, but he was dreadful yesterday and won’t need me to tell him that.
“Take his missed penalty out of the equation and he turned in a display that lacked passion – and I hate to write negative things about a player who is an all-time Liverpool great.
“There may be a debate over whether selling Salah this summer and using that money to reinvest in the team may be an option, but that idea can wait until the end of the season.
“Between now and then, Salah has to lead Liverpool as the senior striker – and he simply didn’t do that at Bournemouth.”
The Egyptian international had a golden opportunity to level the scoreline in the second-half but strangely blasted his spot-kick well wide of the mark to ensure the hosts were granted a first league win since February.
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Having registered 33 goal contributions in 38 games (across all competitions), it’s worth pointing out that the time arguably isn’t right to be seriously considering parting ways with our No.11.
The argument can, of course, be made that the 30-year-old hasn’t been performing to the same standards we’ve come to expect on a consistent basis but he can hardly be singled out from the crowd when the squad, in general, has struggled massively this term.
That being said, we should be expecting our senior stars – your Fabinhos, Jordan Hendersons, Mo Salahs, etc. – to grab games by the scruff of their necks when so much remains on the line.
We took another big step backwards with defeat when it comes to our Champions League hopes and, given the potentially far-reaching, damaging consequences of failing to secure a berth in the top four, we’d expect levels of drive and desire to have picked up by now.
Hopefully, we’ll just look back on this result as a solitary blip in an otherwise positive vein of form.
#Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!