Another game, another goal. Mohamed Salah scored once again for Liverpool on Saturday, at the end of a week in which his uncertain future returned to the spotlight.
The Egypt forward, 29, struck his 20th Premier League goal of the season from the penalty spot as Liverpool kept up the pressure on title rivals Manchester City with a 2-0 win at Brighton.
On Friday, manager Jurgen Klopp said it was up to Salah, who has 153 goals in 238 appearances for the club, to decide whether he signs a new contract.
So, how does the future look for Salah and Liverpool?
What is Salah’s situation?
Salah’s current deal runs until the end of next season.
It has been reported that talks between player and club have broken down, and a new deal will only be possible if Liverpool offer improved terms.
Since joining from Italian club Roma in June 2017, Salah has helped the Reds win the Premier League, Champions League, League Cup, Fifa Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup.
Klopp admitted on Friday that the club had done all it could to persuade the forward to stay, adding there was “no rush” over a deal and the situation was “completely fine” despite a lack of progress.
After Klopp’s comments, Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa tweeted several laughter emojis, without adding further context.
Salah has previously said he wants to stay, but that his future is in Liverpool’s hands and he is not asking for “crazy stuff”.
How badly would Liverpool miss Salah?
Losing the two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner would be a huge blow for the club.
The Egyptian’s second-half penalty at Amex Stadium saw him become the first Liverpool player to score 20 or more times in four different Premier League seasons.
Only former captain Steven Gerrard (212) has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Liverpool than Salah, who has 115 goals and 43 assists in the competition.
The January arrival of Colombia forward Luis Diaz, who scored his second goal for the club in Saturday’s win, has bolstered Klopp’s attacking options alongside the likes of Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane.
Jota and Mane have contributed 12 league goals each this season – the pair scoring 31 goals between them across all competitions.
By comparison, Salah has now scored 28 times in 35 games across all competitions in 2021-22 after delivering Liverpool’s 2,000th Premier League goal at the Amex.
‘Salah must decide if he wants icon status – or money’
Build-up to the match at Brighton was dominated by talk over Salah’s future.
Speaking on BT Sport, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said it was down to Salah to decide what is more important to him.
“It’s up to Mo Salah. What does he want? Does he want to be an absolute idol and icon at Liverpool forever and stay there, or is it about money? We’ll find out at the end of this,” Ferdinand said.
“For the Premier League’s sake, I hope Liverpool can keep him.”
Ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch said: “From Salah’s point of view, he can say ‘I should be the highest-paid player in the world’. He’s been that good. There’s no-one better than him in the Premier League at the moment.
“If they get held to ransom they’re not going to break the pay structure for one player. If Liverpool get offered the right price they may have to look at it,” Crouch added.
On BBC Radio 5 Live, former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis said he would be “very surprised” if Salah did not remain at Anfield, and added his team-mates would accept him being paid more “because of what he does”.
Meanwhile, ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Reid said “clubs all over the world” will be “prepared to spend everything” to sign the former Chelsea player.
“Liverpool will need to break the bank for him,” Reid added. “If they don’t push those boundaries they will not be able to compete with their rivals. They have to be careful not to upset other players, but they have to be competitive as well.”
Where might Salah go if he leaves?
There are a limited number of clubs who could afford to pay huge wages following the coronavirus pandemic, and European giants such as Barcelona are rumoured to be keen on signing Salah should the opportunity arise.
With France striker Kylian Mbappe admitting he is yet to make a decision on his future before the 23-year-old’s contract expires this summer, French heavyweights Paris St-Germain could also be in the market for a new star forward.
It has also been said that Salah would be happy to stay in the Premier League with another club.
However, with Chelsea in chaos after the Premier League disqualified owner Roman Abramovich, it leaves perhaps only Manchester City and Manchester United as realistic options if Salah decided to remain in England.
But a move to either Manchester club would be unthinkable for many Liverpool supporters and tarnish his standing, regardless of his achievements at Anfield.
For now at least, Salah and Liverpool have their eyes firmly set on overhauling Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, as the Reds chase an unprecedented quadruple.
Klopp said “something was not right” with Salah as he was substituted because of injury against Brighton – though the forward suggested it was nothing serious. Liverpool travel to Arsenal next, on Wednesday.
On the title race, Klopp said: “You expect Manchester City to win every game when you watch them play.
“The only thing we can do is win as many football games as possible. We’re ready. We don’t need to call it a title race, we just want to win games.”