Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

Real reason for Mo Salah, Klopp feud emerges as astonishing £100m Liverpool sale claims explode into life

Liverpool star Mo Salah is being tipped to leave Anfield after his touchline row with Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool star Mo Salah is being tipped to leave Anfield after his touchline row with Jurgen Klopp

Mo Salah and Jurgen Klopp were embroiled in their bizarre touchline row at West Ham over a handshake snub it has now been revealed, though speculation the star will quit Liverpool this summer could yet be a bigger factor, it has been claimed.

The Reds have seen their hopes of a fairytale finish under Klopp crumble in recent weeks off the back of a dire run of form that has seen their Europa League adventure unexpectedly ended at the quarter-finals stage and their Premier League title hopes implode. With just one win in their last five Premier League matches, Liverpool are now five points behind Arsenal, and four adrift of Man City, with Pep Guardiola’s side now having a game in hand.

As a result, Klopp will put his energies into at least ensuring he helps the club qualify for the Champions League once again next season, though it will not have been the Anfield farewell he will have dreamed about.

But with issues around his successor on Merseyside now reaching a head, with a compensation package agreed with Feyenoord to install Arne Slot as their new manager, focus is starting to turn on the make-up of the Liverpool squad next season.

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However, one issue which threatens to overshadow it all is that of Salah’s future, with the Egyptian superstar moving into the final year of his £350,000 a week deal at Anfield this summer.

The Reds rejected a £150m offer for his services from Al-Ittihad last summer, but speculation of a move to the Saudi Pro League has never gone away.

Salah, Klopp touchline feud explained

Prospects of quitting Liverpool without another major trophy to celebrate will undoubtedly be weighing heavy on two men who, despite their fiery characters, are both proven winners.

Those emotions spilled over on Saturday lunchtime, when Liverpool played out a frustrating 2-2 draw with West Ham at the London Stadium in a result that pretty much signalled the death knell on their title hopes.

Salah was named as a substitute for the game, but, upon his introduction off the bench as a 79th-minute substitute, was seen to get involved in a furious war of words over Klopp.

With the Egyptian seen pointing at Klopp and the pitch, the Reds manager was seen to be shouting back at his player, with their feud spilling out beyond full-time with the pair snubbing one another.

Now, according to The Sun, the row exploded because Klopp wanted a handshake from Salah before entering the field and although they eventually did a fist bump, the damage was already done.

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A source told the paper: “This has happened occasionally with Jurgen and other players.

“He is very big on interaction with his subs before they go on and felt it didn’t happen at first with Mo.

“Mo was obviously annoyed at being left out of the team and wasn’t in the best of moods while Jurgen wasn’t happy with his behaviour.”

The source added: “The players were given a couple of days off after the match and are meeting up again on Tuesday.

“It is hoped that by then tensions will have calmed down.”

Klopp plays down feud, but Salah stokes the flames

After the match, Klopp did his best to play down the row, only saying: “We spoke about it in the dressing room, but it’s done for me. That’s it.”

Salah, however, was still clearly seething when he spoke after the game, by responding: “There’s going to be fire today if I speak.”

The row has appeared to separate plenty, with some siding with Klopp suggesting the manager should always be right.

But then there are others, like Alan Shearer, who fully understands why the player was vexed after being benched for the game.

Pundit Gabby Agbonlahor has taken it on a step further by reminding Klopp that he would not have won half the trophies he had if it weren’t for Salah.

“It think it’s been coming from Salah. Salah’s not a sub,” the pundit said on talkSPORT.

“You can put Salah on the bench if you are rotating. But Salah has scored 210 goals and has 86 assists for Liverpool.

“A game against West Ham is tough, you don’t give him 12 minutes. That’s what he was probably saying on the sideline. ’12 minutes, come on, I’m Salah, you wouldn’t have a trophy without me, Jurgen’.

“They wouldn’t have won any trophies without Salah. He’s been unbelievable for that football club. Where’s the respect?”

Salah spat: Liverpool sale to Saudi ramps up after Klopp row

However, reports now state there may actually be even more behind the row than has been let on, amid growing claims Liverpool are ready to sanction the player’s £100m sale to Saudi Arabia this summer, feeling the cash on offer is too big to refuse for a player who 32 this summer and would be due a hefty renewal too, given his deal expires just a year later.

With that in mind, it’s now reported that CEO of football Michael Edwards will take the decision on Salah’s future out of the player’s hands and will accept the Saudi cash this summer.

And amid claims that has bruised Salah’s ego, together with frustrations at both being left out, and their poor recent form, all the factors have combined to produce that powder-keg moment at the London Stadium.

Discussing the difficult decision Liverpool face with Salah this summer, the Echo’s Paul Gorst wrote: ‘So, for Liverpool, the prospect is more of how much they believe Salah is capable of snapping out of this current run of form. Can the Egyptian get back this very best? That is a question that FSG’s CEO of Football Michael Edwards must get to the bottom of alongside sporting director Richard Hughes and Arne Slot, who is now almost certain to be the anointed one to replace Jurgen Klopp.

‘If the answer is no, then a sale must be a priority this summer to help supplement the squad’s rebuilding.

‘If the belief is that he will, then negotiations need to be stepped up sooner rather than later. One way or another, Salah is a situation that will need addressing as one of the first ports of call for a brand new power axis at Anfield. It is one they must absolutely get right.’

When discussing a potential move to Saudi, Gorst added: ‘The prospect of a big-money move to Saudi Arabia seemed a more realistic prospect last year and is perhaps being overstated somewhat this time around.

‘Is the appetite still there from Europe’s top stars to move to the Middle East after such an underwhelming season of low-grade football played in front of tiny crowds? That’s before we even assess whether or not Saudi Pro League clubs are still content to bankroll the chaos that the market became last summer.’

Salah a shadow of his former self

Gort’s colleague, Tom Cavilla, commented: ‘If this is to be Mohamed Salah’s final season at the club, it is not shaping up to be the glorious farewell many would have predicted.

‘Salah has lost his way in front of goal in recent weeks, although he is not alone in that department, and did not appear to be at all pleased after being named on the bench for Liverpool’s game at West Ham.

‘His actions on the sidelines were simply out of order and has only increased suspicions that all is not well at Liverpool right now, for whatever reason that may be.

‘The Reds turned down an offer worth £150m for his services last summer and this decision seemed shrewd in the opening months of the season as Salah continued his relentless form, scoring 15 times in the first 20 Premier League games.

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‘He has sadly not looked the same player since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with an injury and has left the club with a difficult decision to make.

‘Is this just a blip and subsequent loss of consequence, or are we seeing the start of a player who has reached his peak and is on the way down? It’s hard to say at this stage.’