Former Arsenal star calls for Liverpool players to ‘step up’ in Mohamed Salah’s absence

Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown has made a call for Liverpool players to step up in Mohamed Salah’s absence ahead of their FA Cup tie at the Emirates this weekend.

The Liverpool frontman has joined his country Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations. Klopp’s side face the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what will be their first game without Salah.

The Reds are also without Wataru Endo who has gone to represent Japan at the Asian Cup, but there’s no doubt that the Egyptian will be a huge miss.

Salah has scored 18 goals and provided nine assists so far this season and has been instrumental in their ascent to the top of the Premier League and he is likely to miss the whole of January and, if all goes well in the tournament, that could stretch deep into February.

Klopp has attacking reserves to fall back on and the likes of Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota will need to step up in Salah’s absence – something which Keown believes needs to happen if Liverpool are to continue their success.

“Somebody really needs to step up when Salah is not there and when you look at their front players like Nunez and Gakpo, neither have really clicked yet – and you think they are going to.

“With Nunez, the runs he makes are phenomenal but he keeps getting in there but he is missing opportunities. Salah is the one who leads the way so he has to be a miss for them.

“I think Klopp will be challenging them, we don’t need Salah what we need is you, you guys are the next generation and the front six now is completely different to what we’ve seen when they were winning league championships and Champions Leagues.”

Nunez, who has dropped off in recent weeks, has eight goals and eight assists in 28 games this season across all competitions but he has missed 18 big chances which is a Premier League high at this point of the season.

There’s also Jota, who has nine goals this season who looks the most natural finisher in Salah’s absence who could certainly step up if they can supply him.

On top of that, Gakpo rediscovered his goalscoring touch against Newcastle in the 4-2 win and he himself has eight goals and three assists this season and those three forwards are all ready to step up.

However, Salah’s overall output in attack is extremely difficult to replicate and it will be interesting to see which figure steps up as all three have a chance to lay down a marker.



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