Mohamed Salah has subtly presented Liverpool with a contract quandary after fulfilling a personal £400k promise

With the signing of a new deal that runs through 2025 last summer, Mohamed Salah became the highest-paid player in Liverpool’s history.

It has seemed like Mohamed Salah has been breaking Liverpool records lately on a weekly basis.

He has surpassed Michael Owen, Sir Kenny Dalglish, and Robbie Fowler in the Reds’ all-time top goalscorers charts just this season, and his early winner against Brentford last weekend saw him tie Steven Gerrard for fifth place on 186 goals. He scored against the Bees for his 100th Anfield goal, 30th of the year, and made history by becoming the first Liverpool player to score in nine straight home games.

The Egyptian had surpassed Fowler to become the Premier League player with the most left-footed goals just a few weeks earlier, against Leeds United. As the Reds make a late push for an improbable top-four finish, he has 13 goals from his last 16 starts.

With three games left to play, the 30-year-old should pass Steven Gerrard in the scoring charts for Liverpool before the end of the month and once again break the 20-goal barrier in the Premier League. Of course, he would already have such records if not for his missed penalties against AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal. The future will reveal whether his efforts are sufficient to produce top-four football.

In retrospect, it’s amazing that despite the Reds’ dismal performance for the majority of the season, Salah was thought to be having a quiet season just a few months ago, and observers questioned whether it was a good idea to pay him the highest salary in the team’s history last summer.

For the record, he needs two goals from Liverpool’s final three matches of the season to record the second-highest return of his career, trailing only his superhuman efforts in the 2017/18 season, when he announced his arrival at Anfield with a record-breaking 44 goals.

Mohamed Salah has subtly presented Liverpool with a contract quandary after fulfilling a personal £400k promise

Of course, Erling Haaland’s impact at Manchester City may have overshadowed his this year. The Norwegian, who cost £51 million to sign from Borussia Dortmund last summer, has scored an incredible 51 goals overall as he aims to win the league’s top three awards with Pep Guardiola’s team. In his first season in England, he has already broken two records set by Mo Salah.

During his most recent press conference, Jurgen Klopp was questioned about Salah’s goal-scoring statistics. It was suggested that the Egyptian might be overlooked due to Haaland’s own record-breaking totals. The German gave the ideal response after having encountered this line of inquiry in various forms over the previous weeks.

“No, not from us, not from the Liverpool supporters, maybe from you,” Klopp told reporters. “This question is now not the first time that I hear it. Not from us.

“He will be an all-time great when his career is over, but he is still young. I’ve said that a lot. Mo still has a really good few years left in his legs and body, and the numbers will get better if you see him every day. I think that’s fantastic.

“No, we don’t ignore it, but since the question is brought up so frequently, you might be tempted to do so.”

Actually, Salah was in even better shape at the beginning of last season, scoring an incredible 15 goals in his first 12 games of the season. By the time he was called up for the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2022, he had amassed a total of 23 goals from 26 games.

In reality, his international exploits caused him to stumble. He would miss in Egypt’s shootout loss to the same opponents in March after another agonizing 120 minutes as they missed out on qualifying for the World Cup. He would lose in the Africa Cup of Nations final to Senegal on penalties at the beginning of February after having to battle through extra time four times over 12 days.

Given that his old contract was set to expire in the summer of 2023 and that he was unsure of his future at Anfield, it was understandable why his form could not match its previous highs.

Following his return from the AFCON, he would score just eight goals in 25 games for Liverpool, only five of which came from open play, as the Reds won two domestic cups but fell short of winning the Premier League on the final day of the campaign before falling to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Despite having secured his future by extending his contract until 2025 last summer, there was possibly a suggestion that a hangover from such outings persisted into the current season. Regardless of Haaland’s own extravagant results, Salah’s performance of seven Premier League goals from his first 20 games of the season was unimpressive for a player of his caliber.

Mohamed Salah has subtly presented Liverpool with a contract quandary after fulfilling a personal £400k promise

However, the Egyptian hasn’t looked back since scoring against Everton in the Merseyside Derby in February. Only Haaland, frequent foe Harry Kane, and Ivan Toney are ahead of him in the scoring charts after scoring 12 goals in his last 14 Premier League starts. Not bad for a “declining forward” going through a “quiet season” for a struggling team.

As was already mentioned, the forward’s subsequent goal will tie his second-best career total and guarantee that he has scored 31 goals in each of the previous three seasons. In addition, it will be his 20th Premier League goal of the year; oddly, the only time he hasn’t reached that milestone is when he ‘only’ scored 19 goals during Liverpool’s title-winning season in 2019–20.

Salah doesn’t just score goals, of course. With 11 goals this season that he has assisted on, he also contributes assists. As a result, he has contributed to 41 goals overall, a total that has only been surpassed by him in 2017/18 (58 goals) and 2021/22 (46 goals). In the final three games of the season, a total of five goals and assists would at least match last season.

It might be fair to say that the Egyptian benefited from skipping a World Cup in Qatar during the middle of the season after he “burst” into life in 2023. The fact that the Africa Cup of Nations will be held in January of 2019 presents a problem for Klopp in the future.

The goals and assists are expected to keep coming for Salah, who will turn 31 in June and is under contract with the Reds for at least another two years. But when did we ever doubt they would?

Remember that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 41, is still playing for AC Milan, and players like Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, and Robert Lewandowski are still competing at the highest level well into their late 30s. Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez could both make this claim before their most recent moves to South America and Saudi Arabia.

Club sources confirmed that when he signed his new contract with Liverpool last summer, his initial weekly salary was less than £400,000, with some reports placing it closer to the £350,000 mark. His contract, though, was highly enticing, guaranteeing that if he kept achieving impressive results, he would make more than £400,000 per week. Regarding the deal’s structure, it was claimed that it was “basically built on reward for the level of goal contributions/involvements”.

Salah bet on his ability to maintain the levels of his first five seasons at Anfield by agreeing to such a contract. The forward has definitely kept his end of the bargain, even though he may not have the hardware to show for it this season.

Salah has consistently scored goals and has remained available throughout the season, unlike his former strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino who have occasionally struggled with goals and fitness. Despite being required to serve in the AFCON, he has been a constant in both the Premier League and the Champions League this season. Of the 282 league and European games the Reds have played during this time, he has only missed six due to injury.

Salah has fulfilled his promise almost a year after breaking the record for highest-paid player in Liverpool history. He continues to contribute goals and assists and is readily available for his team to use whenever they need him. It was appropriate for Reds management to offer him such a lucrative contract.

Of course, no one would have predicted that 12 months after the forward signed such terms, a potential season of Europa League football would enter the picture. The Champions League and trophies will return to Anfield soon enough if he follows in the footsteps of Messrs Messi, Benzema, and Lewandowski and keeps producing such results well into his mid-30s.

Naturally, the cycle surrounding his long-term future will soon resume since he only has two years left on his contract. Salah is talking to everyone on the field, so let the others gossip.

Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

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