Liverpool have just signed Mohamed Salah replacement without anyone realising

When Mohamed Salah leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February, Liverpool will have to do without his services.

Mohamed Salah is expected to captain Egypt at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, therefore Liverpool will once again be without the forward in the new year.

If the Pharaohs made it to the final, the 31-year-old might miss at least five games, including four in the Premier League, because the finals are scheduled to take place in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11. Eight games are needed if you include progression in the FA Cup and League Cup, with Salah potentially missing 10 games due to the possibility of replays in the former.

Salah missed six games in 2022 because of his AFCON exploits, which included helping Egypt reach the final but losing to Senegal on penalties.

 

He will likely miss back-to-back league games against Chelsea and Arsenal if Egypt advances to the tournament’s knockout rounds, though neither the Pharaohs nor Liverpool are guaranteed to get through the FA Cup fourth round or League Cup semifinals.

Mohammed Salah of Egypt looks during the Africa Cup of Nations Group D qualifying match between Egypt and Guinea at Marrakech Stadium in Marakesh, Morocco

In Salah’s absence, Diogo Jota, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino, and Kaide Gordon would all start on the right side of the field during the final AFCON in 2022. However, the Portuguese are still a possibility, as the former Arsenal player just left when his contract expired. the youth hasn’t played since February 2022 due to injury, and was sold to AS Monaco last summer.

Harvey Elliott also assumed the role in the Egyptian’s uncommon absence the previous season. Although Luis Diaz is an option, it is expected that the England Under-21s international and Jota would split the responsibility of covering for Salah during the AFCON in Ivory Coast in January and February. Despite the fact that highly-touted teenager Ben Doak, a contender himself, has probably surpassed Gordon on the waiting list, Gordon could yet return to contention if Doak were to return to first team contention following a protracted injury.

Doak is one of the reasons Liverpool won’t try to sign a new forward this summer. even though Roberto Firmino left the team. With Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo rounding out Jurgen Klopp’s five-man senior quota with Salah, Jota, and Diaz, the Reds are probably well-covered in attack and don’t want to impede the development of the young right-winger, who is still only 17 years old.

As a result, the demands of the supporters for a new senior right back and a further forward are likely to go unheeded, with the current priorities at Anfield being the acquisition of a third midfielder and a left-sided center defender. With limited resources, Liverpool’s management must eventually pick their fights when deciding which positions in Klopp’s squad most urgently require bolstering.

However, with their newest midfield, Liverpool may have just killed two birds with one stone by signing – £60m Dominik Szoboszlai.

With his ability to play as a number eight, a number ten, and on the wings, the former RB Leipzig playmaker is highly adaptable. The two are anticipated to line up in the two advanced midfield positions in Klopp’s team, whether it be in front of a traditional number six in a 4-3-3 formation or at the top of the box engine-room in Liverpool’s new inverted full-back set-up. They join fellow summer arrival Alexis Mac Allister at Anfield.

Although Szoboszlai typically lines up on the opposing flank as an inverted winger, he is more than capable of stepping up as an alternative to Salah in the front three. However, all the attention on the Reds’ summer business is very much on bolstering that midfield moving backward in time.

The international player from Hungary is well-known for his long-range shooting and is plainly suited to that left-wing position as a result. Although RB Leipzig alternated between using a three-man attack and the 4-2-3-1, 4-2-2-2, and 4-2-2-4 formations last season, he actually made 31 of his 46 games on the right wing.

Szoboszlai managed to produce eight goals and 12 assists from the 31 games. The Hungarian is likely to play the advanced midfield role on the right for the Reds, linking up with both the inverted Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah despite his limited experience in the 4-3-3 and 3-2-2-3 formations that Liverpool prefer. This is based on his game time for Leipzig on the right last year.

In contrast to playing Jota or Diaz out of their preferred positions, Szoboszlai might be the player best equipped to fill the right-wing role in the absence of the Egyptian. And the Hungarian’s ability to play on the left flank in addition to his planned midfield position, rivaling the aforementioned duo of Nunez and Gakpo, only serves to further support Liverpool’s decision to recruit the 22-year-old.

After all, Klopp adores a player with versatility. The German is a former striker and defender, and a cursory look at the Reds teams he has coached since taking over as manager in October 2015 makes that predilection very evident.

“James Milner probably has the ability to play 13 positions. When asked about his own flexible players back in 2019, he told Pro:Direct Soccer that he “probably would be the first choice if all the goalies were out.”

Trent can play a lot, and Fabinho can play at least two, so we have those options. There aren’t that many specialists here. Some people believe that being so adaptable is a problem because it makes you think, “Okay, I don’t have a fixed position, he puts me in there, there, then I’m out.”

It [is] a strength. Particularly when creating a squad, it is helpful. That is very helpful. The fact that you have three, four, or five players who can play a wide variety of positions rather than a specialist in each one greatly aids you.

In addition to adding Szoboszlai to Liverpool’s much anticipated midfield makeover, Klopp has also added another ‘non-specialist’ with the very strength he likes most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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