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Mo Salah's loss of form is a massive concern heading into the biggest month of the season

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah with manager Juergen Klopp after he was substituted during the Premier League win over Watford on Saturday

John Aldridge

MOHAMED Salah was off the pace for Liverpool against Watford on Saturday and it is a massive concern heading into the biggest month of the season.

The 2-0 win against Watford may have kept Liverpool’s title push on track, but their lacklustre performance and especially the limp contribution of Salah will set plenty of alarm bells ringing ahead of a week that includes a Champions League game against Benfica and a potential Premier League title decider against Manchester City next Sunday.

Salah’s contract stand-off has been rumbling on for far too long now and while it didn’t seem to affect him at the start of the season, it looks like it might be getting to him now.

The fans are unhappy about it, the club are probably fuming about it, and now if Salah puts in more of the kind of performances he served up against Watford, it will be a massive problem for manager Jurgen Klopp.

I’m sure Salah was gutted to miss out on a place in the World Cup finals last Tuesday, after Senegal ended Egypt’s hopes of a place in the finals later this year.

Yet Klopp and Liverpool needed a positive response from their star man and what they got instead was a flat and worrying performance.

Salah looked fed up when Klopp took him off and replaced him with Sadio Mane mid-way through the second half, but he had no choice.

To be honest, Liverpool’s leading scorer could have been taken off before that as he didn’t appear to be up for the challenge and he needs to snap out of this quickly.

Liverpool have made Salah a huge offer to sign a new contract and the player and agent have turned it down, but this next month will highlight whether he is worth what he is asking for.

If the reports are true and Salah thinks he should be paid £500,000-a-week, he needs to show he is worth that in the games that matter and none are bigger than the Manchester City game next Sunday.

That game is now massive for the destiny of the title and Liverpool probably can’t win at the Etihad Stadium unless Salah is at his best.

I’m a massive Salah fan and let’s be honest, any Red Scouser loves this wonderful footballer who has been brilliant for Liverpool over the last five seasons.

But he won’t want his Liverpool career to end with people questioning whether he is still fighting for the badge on the jersey he is wearing, so it’s time he raised his game.

Salah was not alone in performing below par at the weekend, as it was a poor a performance as we have seen in recent weeks.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring their first goal with Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden. Photo: Craig Brough

The winning run Klopp’s side have been on has been sensational, so it seems ridiculous to say they have not been playing well.

Yet that’s the truth in my eyes, as we all know this Liverpool team have several more gears to go through and they need to find them quickly.

The early kick-off against the Hornets probably didn’t help, with players coming back tired after the international break also a factor in the performance.

On top of that, Klopp is trying to shuffle his team on a regular basis to try and keep every one fit and healthy, with the lack of continuity in the team affecting performances.

If Liverpool had been playing against a better team than Watford , they might well have dropped points and that would be fatal in this battle at the top of the table.

City’s win at Burnley on Saturday confirmed they are going nowhere in the title race and my hope as a Liverpool man is that Klopp’s side are due a top-class performance soon and there would be no better place to turn it on than at the Etihad next Sunday.

If they play like they did against Watford, Liverpool won’t have any chance to compete with a City side who are capable of creating chances against any team in world football.

On the flip side, we also know that City are worried about Liverpool, as they know they are probably the only team in world football who can beat them at their own game.

Most teams sit back and absorb pressure against City, with Atletico Madrid certain to deploy those tactics when they take on Pep Guardiola’s side in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Liverpool can’t do that and they will have a go at City next Sunday, so Klopp needs all his star men firing if he is to have any chance of coming out on top.

So this is why I say Salah, Mane and all of Liverpool’s big-hitters need to come to the party because performances of the ilk we have seen in the last few weeks won’t be good enough to get over the line and win trophies.

Picking up victories when you are not at your best is a quality all trophy-winning teams have, but I don’t feel Liverpool will get away with the kind of displays they put in against Watford and win Premier League or Champions League titles in the next few weeks.

The fact that I am even talking about a title push for Liverpool in the first week of April is incredible because I felt City had the Premier League trophy wrapped up a long time ago.

Now comes the moment for Liverpool’s star men to make the most of the opportunity they have created for themselves by turning on the afterburners and moving up a couple of levels for the games that will define this season.


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