| 11.5°C Dublin

EXCLUSIVE The sale of Mo Salah could help revive Klopp's Liverpool for a fresh Premier League challenge next year

Close

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks dejected as the Anfield club crash of the Champions League on Wednesday night

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks dejected as the Anfield club crash of the Champions League on Wednesday night

Sadio Mane of Liverpool battles for possession with Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid during the Champions League quarter-final, second leg. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Sadio Mane of Liverpool battles for possession with Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid during the Champions League quarter-final, second leg. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

/

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks dejected as the Anfield club crash of the Champions League on Wednesday night

After what is now guaranteed to be a season without a trophy for Liverpool, as a team and as a club they need to find a new identity to make sure they are stronger next season.

They need new players to make that happen. And they’ll have to sell some of the current squad to fund new transfers, which could see Mo Salah leave the club before the start of next season. It has come to the end of the cycle with these players and Liverpool need a reboot – and it could take the sale of one of their big players, Salah or Mane, to kick-start a new era.

They definitely need new faces in the squad. What Liverpool have done over the last three years has been amazing, they have been so intense in their play and hugely successful, but this season they ran out of steam. they ran out of the energy which made them different when they were winning the Champions League and Europa League. They have struggled this season and they need a change, that new identity to allow them go again.

There’s no question about Jurgen Klopp not being there next season, but he looks like he has lost some of the spirit he had when Liverpool were at the top.

In the beginning of his reign he was full of energy and enthusiasm for what they were doing as a team, and I think the players fed off his positivity.

So now it seems like he has lost some of his mojo. Liverpool need to break the cycle they are in they need a break to come back fresh for next season, but they need to find a new type of enthusiasm if they are to win the Premier League again.

Salah, or at least the people around Salah, has been flirting with other teams throughout the season and he has the look of a person who is not happy. I’ve seen him when he’s been substituted and he hasn’t reacted in the right manner, what you’d expect from a player like him.

Liverpool could cash in on him, and then the challenge would be to use the transfer fee received wisely.

Even though it’s been a rough season, he has still scored goals so they will be reluctant to lose him. But if he’s not happy, not playing at 100 per cent, there’s no point in keeping him.

Of course his goals are important to Liverpool – but you need your players to be part of the team, to help other people – and I don’t see that desire from Salah now.

He looks like a player who wants to win the Golden Boot, who just wants to score goals for himself, and isn’t really looking at other options in those key moments in the games.

For a while now, he’s looked like someone who wants to leave. Maybe he had his ambitions of winning the Champions League and Premier League and now he’s achieved those targets, he’s looking for a new challenge, do something new in a different country.

He has been a superb player for Liverpool but his body language over the last while has not been good. Even simple things like pulling his sleeves down over his hands, that message is just negative. Salah now doesn’t look like the Mo Salah of two years ago, it looks like his time at Liverpool has run its course.

It might not necessarily be Salah who leaves but I can see one of their front three leaving over the summer.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Once you decide to keep all of those big-name players, after what’s been a difficult season, you end up falling back by playing into their hands, playing the way they want to play – and if Klopp really does want to change things around for next season, one of the front three has to leave.

Once he makes that decision, he can source a replacement – and fit that player into the identity of the team.

It won’t be easy to replace a Salah but you’d trust Klopp to do it. When Liverpool bought Salah and Mane, a lot of the commentary was people saying they’d spent too much money. And not a lot was known about Firmino... yet they all became world-class players at Liverpool.

So Liverpool have a successful way of signing players, as they did with Diogo Jota: people doubted he was worth the money, but he’s justified it.

That’s what the big clubs do, they don’t just buy the big names that are in the media, they will work off a list that their scouting department has drawn up.

Klopp plays in a certain way, where he demands 100 per cent effort in every game and I don’t know if you’d get that from Harry Kane, so I am sure he has a signing in mind – and it’s possibly a name that’s not widely known to the Premier League public.

So I don’t expect Liverpool to be bidding €130million for a striker, they will just go and get a deal done.

As Liverpool crashed out of Europe, Manchester City go on. The win over Borussia Dortmund was huge for them, when they went 1-0 down you could sense that panic – and it was clear that Dortmund sensed it could be their day. And given what happened to City in the competition last year, against Lyon, you did fear for them.

Close

Sadio Mane of Liverpool battles for possession with Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid during the Champions League quarter-final, second leg. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Sadio Mane of Liverpool battles for possession with Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid during the Champions League quarter-final, second leg. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Sadio Mane of Liverpool battles for possession with Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid during the Champions League quarter-final, second leg. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The fact that City just played the way they always play was key to the victory. Last year they kept changing formation to try and outwit the opposition but they made so many changes, they outwitted themselves. So on Wednesday night they just played a familiar way, and they seemed to have the belief that when things are not going your way, you just go back to basics, play the game that you usually play and the goals will come.

Once City scored the first goal it was comfortable from then on. Dortmund are a good side but they didn’t get a shot in, and the win will give City confidence that they can go on.

PSG in the semi-finals will be a very, very tough game. Dortmund have a good front line but PSG have an exceptional one, they can cause you real problems. with the pace that Mbappe has and the invention of Neymar.

It’s two clubs who are expected to win their domestic leagues, but are desperate to win the Champions League – and their owners will demand it.

For City, just getting past the quarter-finals is a big thing. I think they had a mental block where they just couldn’t get through – now they have done it, it will give them the freedom to go and play.

It’s a quick turnaround for City to play Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday but I don’t expect Guardiola to make big changes for the Cup game. It’s at the stage of the season where it’s not the right time to rest people, you should send out your best team to go and win trophies.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy