Liverpool, oddly, continue to struggle once their opponent goes a man down due to a sending off. The Reds were unable to capitalize on Granit Xhaka’s 24th minute red card, allowing Arsenal to escape from Thursday’s League Cup semifinal first leg at Anfield with a 0-0 draw.
And although manager Jürgen Klopp had already named his strongest available side for the match, one missing name from the team sheet underlined his importance through his absence as the Reds labored all night in front of goal.
Mohamed Salah, off with the Egyptian national team competing in the African Cup of Nations, is arguably the world’s best player and is yet swiftly approaching one year remaining on his contract with Liverpool.
The more Salah cements his stranglehold on the top of the Premier League goal and assist charts, more nervous Reds supporters that a generational player might be allowed to walk away for free in 2023.
“You should be wary as a Liverpool supporter that this is dragging on,” Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said of the contract saga after Thursday’s draw.
“There are other players at Liverpool who’ve signed contracts in the last three or four months. You think of the goalkeeper [Alisson Becker], Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Virgil van Dijk—all huge figures in this team.
“Salah wants to be paid as well as any player in the Premier League and world football—why shouldn’t he? He deserves that with the performance he gives, we’re talking about one of the best players in the world.”
The player himself has made a concerted effort to publicly place the ball in the court of owners Fenway Sports Group with his latest move coming in a GQ interview in which he emphasized that he wants to stay at Anfield and “is not asking for crazy stuff” from his new contract.
“The problem, and the angle Liverpool may be looking at it from, is where Salah would go?” Carragher continued.
“The Spanish giants [Real Madrid and Barcelona] are really out of the equation now given the problems they have financially. Would Salah leave and ruin his legacy by going to Manchester City or Manchester United? Probably not, so that’s probably Liverpool’s bargaining chip.
“I would love this deal to be done as quickly as possible. You cannot forget the price Liverpool signed Salah for. It wasn’t as if they went and spent £100million, they did what they are great at and did a brilliant deal. The money they have invested in him already - transfer fee and wages - has been a snip.
“This is not a case of giving the player exactly what he wants, but Liverpool Football Club and the owners, I don’t think they would be forgiven if Salah left this club in the summer or in 18 months’ time.
“He’s a Liverpool legend, one of the greatest players the club has ever had, and it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later.”