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Jurgen Klopp has a Mo Salah problem – and it needs to be solved quickly

When I look at this Liverpool team and compare it to what we have been watching over the last couple of years, things just don’t look right.

Jurgen Klopp after the match© REUTERS

John AldridgeSunday World

The alarm bells will be ringing for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after the 0-0 draw at Everton and Mohamed Salah will be at the heart of his concern.

Liverpool had more than enough chances to win at Goodison Park, with Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford the man of the match by some distance.

When I look at this Liverpool team and compare it to what we have been watching over the last couple of years, things just don’t look right.

They are lacking fluidity in the final third of the pitch and a lot of the chances they created would have ended in goals if the strikers had aimed for the corners of the net.

All too often, Liverpool’s forwards are giving keepers a chance to make saves, with the 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth the one exception to that this season. It’s worrying.

And when it comes to analysing Salah’s contributions, Klopp needs to decide whether he is justifying his place in the line-up.

Salah hasn’t had the same focus we saw from him at this stage last season, when he was clearly the best player in the world.

He was really poor at Goodison Park, even though he so nearly snatched the game for Liverpool in the final seconds with a shot that Pickford (inset) tipped onto the post.

A late goal would have covered up a few flaws in the Liverpool line-up, as it’s clear to see they are misfiring in several areas.

It wasn’t just in the final third that Klopp’s side are failing to spark.

They are also displaying some vulnerabilities defensively as well.

Injuries have had an impact on their start to their season, there is no denying that, but the excuses need to stop now and the wins need to start flowing.

If you want to have a chance of winning the Premier League, you have to go to Everton and win, as Manchester City won’t be dropping too many points this season the way Erling Haaland is banging them in.

Yet, no game looks comfortable for Liverpool right now and one big problem for me is they have not been scoring the first goal often enough in matches.

That has been giving rival teams a chance to make their negative approach work, and every team seems to have that same tactic to stop Liverpool now.

They know they can’t take them on in a straight fight, as they will come out second best, so they try and frustrate them.

Time wasting on set-pieces and goal kicks, rolling around on the floor, feigning injuries – it’s all part of the strategy against Liverpool, and it’s horrible to see.

Newcastle went way over the top with tactics of this nature on Wednesday night and nearly got out of Anfield with a point.

Fabio Carvalho’s 98th-minute winner came in the time added on for their tiresome time-wasting antics and cheating, so they got what they deserved for trying to ruin the game.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah attempts a shot on goal during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday September 3, 2022.© PA

If Liverpool get the first goal, the opposition can’t sit back and try to time waste, but this is a problem we are seeing more and more now from teams playing against Liverpool.

Well, Everton copied Newcastle’s tactics and young Anthony Gordon, in particular, was a disgrace with his antics.

This lad has a bit of talent, but I’ve never seen a 21-year-old who is so desperate to roll around on the floor and try and con referees into giving him free-kicks and penalties.

Then, to add to it all, he went and ploughed into Liverpool’s players with a number of feisty challenges that should have resulted in a booking.

Amid the disappointment for Liverpool, there were still some positives, as they produced plenty of chances.

Darwin Nunez could have had a hat-trick if he had been more clinical and a little more fortunate, and his effort that was tipped onto the crossbar by Pickford at the end of the first half was so nearly a goal-of-the-season contender.

Then, Luis Diaz was so close with the follow-up as he also rattled the frame of the Everton goal, but Liverpool didn’t do enough other than that.

The second half changed when Roberto Firmino came on and Liverpool had enough chances to open the scoring, but they looked vulnerable on the break.

Everton thought they scored through Conor Coady on 68 minutes, but I could see straight away he was offside. It was a surprise VAR took so long to come to the right decision.

Everton's Tom Davies (right) attempts a shot on goal during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday September 3, 2022.© PA

And Liverpool were probably lucky Virgil van Dijk’s studs-up challenge on Amadou Onana in the 76th minute didn’t get reviewed by VAR, as it might so easily have been a red card. Liverpool got away with one there, for sure.

Sadly for Klopp, this season’s team are lacking the winning quality associated with them over the last couple of years.

Salah so nearly won it at the end and you have to give Pickford a lot of credit for tipping his effort onto the post.

That could have been a key moment in Salah’s season. If he scores in injury time, his confidence would return and Liverpool’s main man could spark back into life ahead of the Champions League game against Napoli on Wednesday.

Instead, he would have been stewing on that performance last night and with Jota and Nunez (left) now available, Klopp might have to consider dropping Salah unless he finds his form quickly.

Two more dropped points leave Liverpool well off the pace in the title race.

They need to up their game and soon.


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