The MNF pundits have discussed the impact of Mohamed Salah’s absence during the Africa Cup of Nations. Gary Neville emphasizes the need for Salah’s teammates to step up and keep Liverpool in the Premier League title race while he is away. Jamie Carragher identifies two players who could potentially fill Salah’s spot in the team.
Salah played a crucial role in Liverpool’s recent victory over Newcastle, scoring two goals and assisting another. However, he will now represent Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations. Neville emphasizes that the pressure is now on players like Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, and Cody Gakpo to shoulder the attacking burden in Salah’s absence. This trio has only scored a combined 13 Premier League goals so far this season.
Neville praises the overall strength of Liverpool’s squad, highlighting the world-class abilities of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, and Salah. He believes that if these three players remain fit, Liverpool has a great chance of success. However, he also recognizes that Salah’s absence for a month will have a detrimental effect on the team.
Neville recalls Klopp’s early years at Liverpool, characterized by a fast-paced and frantic style of play. He admits that the current squad is going through a transitional period, with players like Gakpo, Nunez, and Diaz still developing and lacking precision in decision-making. Neville questions how the team will fare without Salah’s influence but expects the squad to strive to maintain their position at the top of the league until Salah’s return.
Despite Liverpool’s solid performance, Neville remains hesitant about their chances in the title race due to uncertainties surrounding Gakpo, Nunez, and Diaz. However, he acknowledges Klopp’s managerial abilities as a factor in Liverpool’s potential success.
When asked about Klopp’s possible solutions for filling Salah’s position on the right side of Liverpool’s attack, Carragher suggests two options. He mentions that Jota is a great goal scorer but highlights the lack of form and world-class ability in front of goal from Nunez and Diaz. Carragher also notes the imbalance in the squad with many right-footed attackers and no clear solution for the right side.
Carragher mentions the versatility of Harvey Elliott, who can play in the front three despite being more of a midfield player. He also considers Dominik Szoboszlai as a potential option, as he has previously played in Salah’s position for his former club. However, Carragher emphasizes that Salah’s goals cannot be easily replaced and are crucial for Liverpool’s success.