It’s not controversial at this point to say that Mohamed Salah has been Liverpool’s standout player during this first half of the 2017-18 season. For that reason, it’s more than slightly worrying that, as manager Jürgen Klopp noted, the mercurial winger was limping slightly as he was replaced during the final phases of yesterday’s match against Leicester City. By all expectations, Salah will have to be closely assessed prior to the trip to Burnley tomorrow, and may not be available for selection.
If he is indeed sidelined, Salah won’t be the only change to the lineup that gritted out a comeback 2-1 victory over Jamie Vardy & Co. Already confirmed is a change at the goalkeeper position, with Simon Mignolet expected to return to duty after Loris Karius’ outing, and Klopp has promised that this won’t be the only shuffling he’ll be doing to the starting XI.
“I don’t know exactly how many changes we will make but I would say for sure more than one,” said Klopp. “After the game I go immediately to the press and do what I have to do, and then after the press conference the medical department tells me who is available for the next training and who can train the next day.”
This time, however, the routine will be somewhat different, given the ludicrous 48 hour turnaround time between matches thanks to the Premier League’s holiday fixture schedule. Liverpool’s manager was quick to point out the realities of the situation and hinted that the shape of the lineup card will, to a certain extent, be out of his hands.
“This time, because we don’t train [today], we have recovery, they will tell me who is available for playing again and that’s all I need to know,” noted Klopp. “Then I’ll make the line-up.”
“The good news is Burnley had to play [on Saturday] as well. I don’t think they got the point without running, so they have the same thing to do and that’s then fair play.
“It’s not the best thing to do, I think, but it’s absolutely OK. We will be ready because we have to be ready. It’s not a friendly game, it’s a very important game for us – three points to get against a very strong side in an outstandingly good moment in the league.”
It’s quite possible that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum, who both made late appearances against Leicester City and who may be just a touch fresher, will see their names in the starting XI. Elsewhere, Trent Alexander-Arnold may find himself called into action again. But all eyes will be up front, where supporters will anxiously await news regarding their Egyptian goalscoring hero.