Whenever Mohamed Salah has been missing from Liverpool down the years, the Reds could always rest easy in the knowledge that he would be back at some point.
That remains the case at the start of 2024, with no mid-season transfer about to be sanctioned at Anfield.
As a result, once Africa Cup of Nations duty comes to a close, the Egyptian king will make his way back to Merseyside. There is, however, the very real threat that Salah could be a matter of months away from bidding farewell for good.
The Saudi Pro League transfer window has officially closed… ?
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 7, 2023
For now, his presence in Jurgen Klopp’s plans is helping to keep Liverpool in the hunt for more major honours. The Reds, after a trophyless campaign in 2022-23, are priced at 11/5 in football betting markets focused on the Europa League, and 7/2 for another FA Cup triumph.
When it comes to domestic title bids, Premier League bets have the Reds as short as 11/4 to capture another top-flight crown.
Salah will have an important role to play in quests for tangible success at home and abroad, but it is impossible to ignore the speculation suggesting that any medals claimed this season will be his last in English football.
Talk of interest from teams in Saudi Arabia refuses to go away, and there are some deep pockets to be found in that part of the world.
Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who is working in Saudi Arabia himself at second-tier side Al-Qadsiah, has said: “I wouldn’t rule out Salah coming over here, if not this summer then at some point. It is not really down to clubs any more, it’s down to the player. If he wants to leave, then he will eventually leave.”
Klopp and Co will be aware that there is no smoke without fire and that blocking the exits in front of Salah will eventually become an impossible task.
With that in mind, contingency plans are having to be drawn up. Liverpool have coped without Salah before and will do so again.
Klopp has said of mid-season AFCON duty: “It’s not the first time, but we had it even worse in the past when both Sadio (Mane) and Mo left and traditionally at least one of them went far in the tournament.”
Mo Salah is just the fifth player in history to reach 200 Liverpool goals.
Legend. ??? pic.twitter.com/XLEG7HVZLl
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 9, 2023
Liverpool have been given a taste of what life is like without Salah. They may not like it much, but they are going to have to get used to it.
Replacing a record-breaking forward with over 150 Premier League goals and 200 for the club in total will not be easy – even when talk of £200 million price tags are taken into account, which will allow for considerable funds to be reinvested.
Somebody will be tasked with the job of filling Salah’s boots, be that a new addition or a promotion from within. Whether they are up to the job remains to be seen, but the Reds are getting a glimpse of their Salah-less future and they need to make sure that they make it as bright as possible.
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