Mo Salah was Liverpool’s figurehead, his goalscoring prowess the capstone of a team accustomed to winning trophies.
But, like the rest of his team, Salah is “suffering” this season because of the constant disruption to Liverpool’s attack, scoring just once in his last six appearances, manager Jurgen Klopp said in a press conference on Friday.
Injuries to key players – Salah has played just 343 minutes alongside likely fellow starters Luis Diaz and Darwin Núñez – have only heightened the loss of Sadio Mané to Bayern Munich last season, breaking up Liverpool’s cohesive offensive unit.
“It was a well-drilled machine the front three; everything was clear what we were doing,” Klopp said. “Everyone suffers, that’s clear. It is specific, offensive play that requires a lot of work and a lot of information, and not always obvious information.”
This season, Salah has scored seven goals in 19 Premier League games, unlike in 2021/22 when he contributed 23 goals and won the Golden Boot.
Lying in ninth in the Premier League having scored fewer goals, conceded more, and won fewer points than any of the previous seven seasons at this stage under Klopp’s tenure, Liverpool’s problems run deeper than just Salah’s misfiring form.
“Mo has scored hundreds of goals in recent years and when you don’t score the first thing people think about is that, but that is not our problem at the moment,” Klopp added.
“We started the season with Harvey [Elliott] in the half position, with Hendo [Jordan Henderson] it is different, and now it is Naby [Keïta]. So things are different all the time but usually you have a real basis to build on and that is what we don’t have.”
As Klopp seeks to kickstart Liverpool’s floundering season, he hopes that January signing Cody Gakpo can offer an alternative offensive option.
“Now we have Cody [Gakpo], obviously a really important asset, a connector; he can play the wing and the centre as well,” Klopp said.
Liverpool next take to the field against Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.