Mohamed Salah is said to be close to sealing a record $49.2 million move to Liverpool from AS Roma as Jurgen Klopp continues to rebuild the Reds.
But where will Salah fit in?
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With many expecting Liverpool to buy new defenders this summer (ahem, we all know how the Virgil van Dijk situation played out) Klopp is instead close to adding yet another attacking player.
Salah’s arrival is said to be for a club-record fee of $49.2 million, with the Egyptian winger also set to become the most-expensive African player in history after excelling at Roma over the past two seasons, scoring 29 goals in 65 Serie A appearances while adding 17 assists.
It’s safe to say Salah will be eager to prove himself in the PL after a disappointing debut season at Chelsea (he joined for $15 million from FC Basel in January 2014) which then saw him shipped out on loan to Fiorentina and Roma before joining the latter permanently in the summer of 2016. At 25 years old he is entering his prime and with Liverpool having a UEFA Champions League qualifier to negotiate, they’ll have plenty of games to give everyone minutes this season.
With Liverpool having Sadio Mane on one wing, potentially Salah on the other and Philippe Coutinho underneath Roberto Firmino, the obvious odd-man out here is Adam Lallana. Will the England international, who shone for the first half of last season, suddenly move down the pecking order at Liverpool? If Klopp switches to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2- formation it could slot everyone in, but then that would mean Salah or Lallana playing in wing-back roles, which won’t get the best out of their attacking talents.
Salah’s best talents include dribbling, finishing and crossing and those talents should link up well with the extreme pace of Mane and the trickery of Coutinho in-behind Firmino. Salah is quick too, but he’s not Mane quick.
It will be intriguing to see how this all slots together, but with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum occupying the two central spots, Salah’s imminent arrival certainly congests the forward areas, especially when you consider that Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings will all be fighting for a role next season.
Here’s a look at how Liverpool could line up after Salah’s arrival.
—– Mignolet —–
—- Clyne —- Lovren —- Matip —- Milner —-
—– Henderson —– Wijnaldum —–
—- Salah —- Coutinho —- Mane —-
—— Firmino ——
The lineup above looks like the most balanced and obvious way Salah will slot into the team because, let’s face it, if you spend a club-record fee on a player who has been ripping it up in Serie A then you obviously want him to become an integral part of your team.
Below is another way Salah could slot in to the starting lineup at Liverpool with Lallana also handed a spot as Klopp could somehow shoehorn all of his top attacking talents into the same lineup. It would be risky, but the German coach has always been a huge proponent of attack being the best form of defense. Plus, everyone loves a 3-4-3 these days…
—– Mignolet —-
—- Klavan —- Matip —- Lovren —-
Salah — H’son — Wijnaldum — Lallana
—- Coutinho —- Firmino —- Mane —-