The Egyptian was deep in talks with the club’s ownership over a new deal at Anfield, which was due to expire in the summer of 2023. The forward had previously made a public statement about his contract situation, claiming he was not asking for extravagant demands to stay put at the club.
At one point, it seemed like Salah was set to leave the club, with thoughts that he could even leave as a free agent next summer. In the end, the 30-year-old put all speculation to bed and signed a new three-year contract with the club.
The Egyptian might have finished with another brilliant individual campaign in the 2021/22 season, inclusive of another Golden Boot win. Regardless, van Dijk claims that the whole situation did affect his teammate on the pitch.
Speaking about the whole uncertainty that came with Salah’s contract situation, Van Dijk told The Telegraph: “At the end of the season, from maybe April until the end, there was a lot of talk about (his) contract and stuff. We’re all human beings and maybe that affected him a little bit, unfortunately.”
Salah barely made an impact in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in May though a goal-bound effort was brilliantly denied by Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. After a quick-fire start to the 2021/22 campaign, Salah endured a poor run of form, scoring just four times in the span of 22 games over the final three months of the campaign.
Despite his drop in form, van Dijk is adamant that Salah remained at his best levels and has now put all of that behind him. “He still showed high levels and quality and he played with a free mind and obviously he’s happy to be here and I think everyone is happy to be here,” the Dutchman continued.
“He showed it already for the last three years. He’s under the microscope all of the time. He created that himself, he’s such a good player, but he shows that consistently all the time in my opinion.”
Salah started the new season in his usual fashion, as he scored a decisive penalty as Liverpool claimed a 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield. The 30-year-old caused problems for Joao Cancelo with and without the ball in the opening stages of the game before eventually converting a spot kick.
With the absence of Sadio Mane, the Egyptian will be one of the top names expected to deliver for Liverpool in what is expected to be an interesting and rather competitive season.