Liverpool struggle vs. Everton but Salah shows how key he is

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Liverpool – Liverpool had 150 million reasons to offload Mohamed Salah to Saudi Pro League club Al Ittihad in the summer. But, scoring twice in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Everton, the Egypt international underlined just how important he is to Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Everton, reduced to 10 men before half-time after Ashley Young was sent off for two yellow cards — both for fouls on Luis Diaz — fought desperately to emerge from the 243rd Merseyside derby with at least a point. Manager Sean Dyche even replaced two wingers with defenders to pack his defense at half-time in an attempt to frustrate the home side.

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But Salah scored again from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after a VAR review identified a Michael Keane handball. Salah’s second goal seven minutes into stoppage time only sealed the result. But without his opener, Liverpool could drop two crucial points in their quest for the Premier League title.

“He didn’t have it today [Salah’s] Great game,” Klopp said. “But you need someone who gets the ball over the line and he was that man again. He will never stop, that’s his nature.”

The 31-year-old has won everything there is to win in the English domestic game since joining Liverpool from Roma in 2017, and much of that success is down to the contributions he has made in his six seasons at the club. He has scored 194 times in all competitions for Liverpool and registered 78 assists, while his two goals against Everton saw him move into the first tier followed by legends Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard with 105 at Anfield.

Salah has now been involved in 11 Premier League goals from nine games already this season — seven goals and four assists — and has scored or assisted in each of the last 13 Premier League home games. In six seasons, he broke the 20-goal mark in the Premier League four times and scored 19 in each campaign when he fell short. He has been a model of consistency for a team that has won every trophy that has competed during that time.

When Liverpool need a goal, they can usually count on Salah to find some when it’s needed most.

“Great players do [step up when needed]”Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said after Everton game.” “This season or the end of last season, he [Salah] “I missed a couple of penalties, but that’s what we need to go forward and deliver.”

When Al Ittihad submitted their £150m bid to sign Salah in the summer transfer window, it was the worst kept secret in football. Liverpool were bracing themselves for an incoming bid. Having already pocketed more than £50m from the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Al Ittifaq and Al Ittihad respectively, they knew that a financial boost would enable them to sign one, or even two, world-class players to replace their talismans.

With Salah’s contract expiring in June 2025, the long-term justification for offloading the player was obvious, but the footballing reality was that Klopp would find it impossible to replace him this season. Taking on this campaign without their most reliable goalscorer simply wasn’t viable.

Financially, it may turn out to be a decision Liverpool accounts to regret, but football still comes first at Anfield and there can be no questioning that the club made the right decision to reject Al Ittihad’s offer.

With Salah in the team, Liverpool can beat any opposition, be it 10-man Everton or title favorites Manchester City, against whom Salah has scored 11 times in a Liverpool shirt. Only Manchester United (12) have conceded more goals against Salah than City, another example of Salah’s ability to make the difference in the most important games.

Only City forward Erling Haaland (9) has scored more league goals than Salah this season, but City have shown more ability to win when Salah fails to score than Liverpool. How important is he?

Liverpool have had world-class players like Salah before — such as Dalglish, Gerrard and Luis Suarez, who have the invaluable ability to turn a draw or defeat into victory. And with Al Ittihad expected to return with another transfer bid next summer, it could yet prove to be Salah’s breakout season at Liverpool.

But while he is there, Klopp’s side have the ability to win every game and every competition they play.

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