Back in 2014, Mohamed Salah unwittingly became a pawn in a certain subsection of Liverpool fans' frustration with owners FSG. At first, he was the wrong kind of transfer — i.e. not a big name — for a Liverpool side that looked destined for Champions League football, and a symptom of the club's #lackofambition. Then, days later, when Chelsea swept in with an offer some 40% higher than the Reds' valuation and sealed the deal in a weekend, the failure to capture the Egyptian was emblematic of the American money men's unwillingness to back their manager and spend what needed to be spent.
For all that hassle, Salah ended up playing a total of 800-odd minutes for Chelsea, before spending a couple of seasons on loan in Florence and Roma. The latter loan deal was a resounding success — culminating in a Player of the Year trophy — and the Giallorossi subsequently signed the former Basel man to a permanent deal for a couple million less than Chelsea paid two years previous.
Now, amid rumours that main target Julian Brandt is proving resistant to Jürgen Klopp's charms, Liverpool are reportedly back in for the reigning AfCoN champion. The Reds need pace, they need depth in attack, they desperately need a left-footer, and Salah ticks all the boxes. Where the 21-year old prospect Rodgers attempted to purchase in 2014 had a tendency to get bogged down in needlessly elaborate stepovers, flicks and backheels, Salah 2.0 has narrowed his abilities down to a low-variance, high-yield game that provides impressive results.
43 goals and assists in the past two seasons with Roma, for a G+A every 116 minutes is the league production from the 5'9" winger, and it is better than any Reds player this year. His directness and — quite frankly, unreasonable — speed would suit a counter-pressing game perfectly, and his £60k/wk wages should be simple enough for the Reds to improve on.
Naturally, there are obstacles. Roma will be in the Champions League next season, and play a wonderful brand of football that suits the Egyptian perfectly. Salah has moved house four times in six years and might just be ready to remain in one place for more than two seasons. The price tag will have tripled since the last time Liverpool were in for him, and a fee in the region of €30m is likely. And finally, for all his linear, high-speed delights, it remains uncertain whether Salah has the ability to impress against the kind of opposition the current iteration of Liverpool struggle with; deep, compact blocks of aggressive defenders who give away little space and few chances to counter.
Whether the Reds decide to take a second bite at Salah remains to be seen. What seems certain is that investments will be made in order to strengthen the offense this summer.