Jürgen Klopp has just created a fresh transfer need as Mohamed Salah targets Liverpool change
Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah are experiencing a curious tussle on Merseyside at the moment. The two Liverpool teammates each want to occupy the same position at the tip of Jürgen Klopp’s new-look system.
The German manager changed from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 around two weeks ago, purely as a means of fixing his team’s performances, particularly on the defensive side of the game. Liverpool’s form has improved since and the landscape is looking much better of late, but he’s still toying with a number of options at the business end of the field.
Klopp’s redesigned formation incorporates two wide midfielders and two central strikers on the pitch, with Salah often forced to play on the flanks to accommodate players who can only play through the middle. Whenever he’s fielded through the centre, though, he looks far more threatening.
Deploying both players up front is a legitimate possibility which could soon be explored according to Klopp, who opened up about the idea this week when speaking about the dangerous duo.
“There’s a chance we play with Darwin and Mo in the centre, that would be a high-speed combination,” he said. “But we need to get there somehow. We are still developing this kind of system and we have to figure out how it is best for the specific game.”
Roberto Firmino would likely have to occupy the bench in such a scenario but with Núñez and Salah on the field, it is reasonable to suggest the Reds wouldn’t miss him too much. Liverpool would have offensive firepower in abundance, but the prospect of permanently moving Salah away from the wide areas could impact Klopp’s future transfer business.
If the three-time Golden Boot winner is going to spend the remainder of his Anfield tenure as a striker — which could make sense given he’s now 30 years old — the Reds might have to source a new wide player for the right wing for the first time since 2017.
The Merseyside club haven’t showcased much of an interest in right-sided attacking players over the years, simply because Salah has been such a dominant presence who rarely suffers from injuries. In fact, he’s accumulated 190 appearances in the Premier League for Liverpool, which is a healthy amount considering he’s only been around for five-and-a-half campaigns.
Across his Anfield career, he averages 36 appearances per season in England’s top flight from a possible 38 matches, which truly captures his consistent availability and commanding presence on the right. It has simply made no sense for the Reds to dedicate funds to another player who likes that position on the field.
Fellow left-footed attackers who like the right flank — such as Jarrod Bowen and Raphinha — have emerged as players who seem to fit the Klopp mould in recent years, but nothing has ever transpired in the transfer market because of the simple reason that Salah is still contracted to the club.
That transfer stance could change in the near future if Klopp proceeds to explore the prospect of Núñez and Salah as a dynamic duo. The latter and his new-found preference to play through the middle could shape Liverpool’s upcoming business, with a fresh need for a talent who will feel at home on the right.
The Reds almost need to begin searching for Salah’s heir, but all while keeping the original version as a focal point at Anfield.