Liverpool v Man City: Match in pictures
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Mohamed Salah did not even plan to be a Liverpool player at this stage of his career as the impasse over a new contract rumbles on, according to reports. The Reds sealed several first-team players to fresh deals in the summer but star forward Salah has still not extended his stay at Anfield.
In the absence of many signings during the transfer window, Liverpool set about tying down the core of their squad to renewed terms.
Virgil van Dijk was rewarded for his return from injury with a new deal. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Jordan Henderson also put pen to paper.
Brazilian pair Alisson Becker and Fabinho were similarly handed extensions.
But there was no new deal for Salah, who has been pivotal to their success under Jurgen Klopp. The Egyptian’s current contract expires in fewer than two years.
Liverpool have until January 2023 to resolve Salah’s future before he is allowed to speak to foreign clubs about a free transfer ahead of that summer.
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However, it has now emerged that Salah initially planned to have departed Liverpool by now and that the pathway he had mapped out has been ‘disrupted’.
According to the Independent, the 29-year-old hoped that he might have signed for Real Madrid to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo.
That move was scuppered by the LaLiga giants’ move for Eden Hazard, who signed for Los Blancos in the summer of 2019.
Salah’s dilemma is that Hazard’s move – and Antoine Griezmann’s transfer to Barcelona in the same summer – has made Europe’s elite clubs cautious about negotiating huge deals for players in their late 20s.
Hazard has seriously underwhelmed in Madrid since his move from Chelsea. The Belgian has scored just five goals in 51 appearances for Real.
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Griezmann did not match his Atletico Madrid form at Barca, either. He netted 35 goals in 102 matches and has now returned to Atletico on a long-term loan.
It is now likely that Salah will see out his best years at Liverpool.
That is despite the fact that the Reds are widely believed to have not yet offered a new deal to the Egyptian. The Athletic reported last week that Salah has grown frustrated over the delay in negotiating terms.
He has apparently privately compared his own situation to that of Kevin de Bruyne. Manchester City were quick to offer their own star player a new deal and talks were smooth.
Salah wonders why Liverpool have not done the same with him given his relatively similar impact to his club’s success.
It is also not just Salah whose deal will soon expire. Each of Liverpool’s famous front three have their contracts end in 2023.
It means that they risk losing Salah, Sadio Mane, 29, and Roberto Firmino, 30 for free in the same summer unless talks progress soon.
Boss Klopp has been keen to stay away from discussions over Salah’s future.
“There’s nothing to say, especially from me, I am not involved,” the German said on September 23.
“Obviously I am interested in how sharp he looks. He’s spot on. Really good. Nothing else to say.”
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