Speculation linking Mohamed Salah with a move to Barcelona can be given the short shrift, argues Paul Gorst
All it took was seven well-timed, well-placed emojis to open the door to fevered speculation around Mohamed Salah last week.
In a social media response to words from Jurgen Klopp about Salah’s Liverpool future, the Egyptian’s representative, Ramy Abbas, set tongues wagging as the rumour mill went into overdrive.
“Mo definitely expects this club to be ambitious,” Klopp said last week in response to a question at the pre-match press conference for the Brighton game. “We were in the last few years and we are.
“We cannot do much more, that’s how it is. But I don’t think it’s about that. It’s Mo’s decision pretty much. The club did what the club can do. That’s how it is.
“Nothing bad to say about it. It’s fine from my point of view. It’s exactly like it should be at this moment in time. Everything is set. Nothing happened further, no signing, no rejection or whatever.
“We just have to wait for that. It’s completely fine. No rush in that situation.”
The suggestion the ball was essentially in Salah’s court was the claim that seemed to embolden Abbas to send one his now trademark cryptic responses.
The Colombian representative might have been able to hide behind the coyness of it all, but Liverpool fans knew exactly what was meant by the subtle if not inconspicuous reaction to Klopp’s words.
It didn’t take long for the stories to arrive. First, one on Friday evening that claimed that talks between Salah’s team and Liverpool’s operation had broken down and had made no progress since December.
And it didn’t really require the investigative mind of Inspector Clouseau to figure out the primary source of those stories on the eve of the Reds’ trip to the Amex Stadium last weekend.
Multiple sources at the both club and within the Salah camp were decidedly silent about those reports on Friday evening as the contract impasse went on, despite the repeated public declarations from the player himself that he would like to remain a Liverpool player for the long haul.
Inevitably, it gave way to more questions to Klopp about the long-term future of his main marksman, with the Reds boss reiterating his relaxed attitude at a situation that could still see Salah walk away as a free agent in the summer of 2023.
“This season everyone is completely committed,” Klopp said. “Some players don’t play often enough, some aren’t in the squad often enough, they could create a bad atmosphere but they don’t, they will not.
“They have a clear commitment to this team, this season and when it is done, we will talk about the rest, whatever, the future, all these kinds of things. And Mo is not the guy for that, not at all.”
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