Liverpool fans woke up this morning to amazing news – Mohamed Salah has penned a 5-year contract. Surprisingly, a small faction of fans have responded negatively to this news. Odd, considering Liverpool have managed to tie down their best player to a long-term deal after the Egyptian bagged a record 32 goals last season. This all boils down to the way Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool after receiving big pay raises.
Just seven months after signing a contract extension with the Reds, Suarez was suddenly on the books at Barcelona. Similarly, Coutinho followed suit – securing a big-money move to the Camp Nou a season after signing a long-term contract.
In modern-day football, a long-term contract no longer means the player will stay at the club for the duration of the contract (in this case it would mean Salah plying his trade at Anfield until 2023). In order for Klopp to keep hold of his star man, the club must start to match his ambitions, particularly with some of Europe’s most decorated sides following the PFA Player of the Year.
The pain from losing Coutinho halfway through the season will still be fresh in the minds of many Liverpool fans. This time, however, things are different. Salah has developed leaps and bounds under Jürgen Klopp this season and worked his way into the hearts of Liverpool fans across the globe. So much so, that after just a few months at Anfield, the Reds fans found themselves a new King to worship. An Egyptian King.
Klopp: "When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think." @TimesSport
— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) July 2, 2018
Salah, both on and off the pitch, is delighted with life in Liverpool. His family are well-settled after just 12 months and Salah is not only beloved by his fans, he reciprocates it right back. His debut season at Anfield will go down in the history as the most scintillating goal-scoring performance in the Premier League. He is now a worldwide superstar, a phenomenon.
Not much was expected of Salah when he made his £36.9m move from Roma but he has shocked everyone, fans and pundits alike. Salah managed 44 goals across the season, just three less than Ian Rush’s record for a single season. But Salah is aware that just as fantastic he has been over the last year, Klopp’s system is what happens him thrive. The players around him, particularly Firmino and Mané and the high-intensity style that is synonymous with Klopp’s Liverpool have helped Salah blossom into a Ballon D’Or contender.
Once again, Liverpool have one of the most coveted forwards in Europe lining up for them and once again rumours linking him with a move away have returned. Real Madrid have been the most frequently-linked side, but Salah has no ties to the Spanish giants. With Suarez and Coutinho, they both grew up in South America, and South American players historically have a soft spot for La Liga sides. They dream of running out in the colours of Los Blancos or Blaugrana. Salah may well have admired to Spanish clubs growing up but that admiration pales in comparison to that of a South American player.
That’s why making Mohamed Salah the club’s highest earner on £200,000 is a move that needn’t worry Kopites – it should be a reason to celebrate. Unlike Suarez a few years ago, Salah’s contract doesn’t include a release clause, which in itself is a testament to how far the club has come during Klopp’s reign.
For more than 20 years Anfield hasn’t been a pinnacle for a player’s career. McManaman, Owen, Alonso, Mascherano, Torres, Alonso, Suarez and most recently Coutinho left. Citing trophies as a major reason for their departures. Even Steven Gerrard, Mr Liverpool, had his head turned by José Mourinho’s Chelsea, and the trophies on offer at Stamford Bridge during the early years of Roman Abramovich’s reign.
Klopp is well on his way to turning the tides and returning Liverpool to its rightful place among Europe’s elite clubs. Three finals so far and consecutive top-four finishes are a far cry from the Hodgson era, which is still so fresh in the memories of Reds fans. Naby Keita even turned down Barcelona for a chance to join Klopp’s revolution.
Klopp also prised Fabinho from an exciting young Monaco side, who won Ligue 1 last season and reached the Champions League semi-final.
Despite ending the season trophyless, the exciting run to the Champions League final represented a real improvement in this Liverpool side.
With over a month left of the transfer window, there will likely be even more fresh faces doing the Melwood lean, with Salah leading Klopp’s Reds onto glory.