Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp has admitted that Mohamed Salah’s struggles are down to him trying to play without Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Mohammed Salah is in his sixth year at Liverpool and for the first time since his stellar debut in 2017/18, the Egyptian has failed to hit double figures in Premier League goals at this stage of the competition.
The Premier League golden boot winner in three of the six seasons he has been at the club, Salah had been greatly helped by his partnership with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with whom he formed a trio that was touted as the next best after the famed Barcelona MSN trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
However, Mane has moved on to Bayern Munich and Firmino, who is also battling injury problems, has been relegated to a squad role because the club are trying to integrate their new signing Darwin Nuñez into the side.
So far, the experiment has not worked and Salah’s form has greatly affected Liverpool, who are struggling in the league as a result.
Ahead of their clash against Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp admitted that this is the case, but expressed hope in his star man that he will bounce back to full form soon.
“Of course Mo is suffering,” said Klopp to journalists. “It was a well-drilled machine; the front three. Everything was clear what we were doing. Everybody suffers from that. That’s clear. It is specific, offensive play that requires a lot of work and lot of information, and not always obvious information.
“You create a feeling about a lot of these things, about where your team-mate is and where to pass the ball without looking. That is not cool but we cannot expect just to be back to our best and win 5-0 and go to the next game. We have to work hard. Nobody wants to hear it but we have to do it.
“If you had scored hundreds of goals in the past and now you are not scoring then that is the first thing you would think about but that is not our problem at the moment. I’m happy if he scores one, and in another game someone else scores one and we keep a clean sheet.”
Klopp also spoke of Diogo Jota, who is considered as important as the Mane-Salah-Firmino trio.
The Portugal international, who has battled injury since the beginning of this season, limiting his appearance to under five games in the Premier League, was used all across the attack as a potent replacement for either of the front three.
There is a feeling that Salah could have been doing better if Jota was fit and available. Klopp addressed these sentiments while giving a fitness update on the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man, who is still in recovery from his latest injury.
“In two or three weeks, a couple more options [Jota] will be available and we can mix it up,” said Klopp. “Now we have Cody as a really important asset, like a connector, he can play the wing and the centre as well. When Darwin is playing there he is higher up, going in behind, these kind of things.
“We never played with a nine before, even when Sadio played in the position. That’s not Darwin’s game, he wants to have other balls at his feet and he is a real handful there. It is all good if they would all be in and we could build something, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”