Liverpool told ‘Salah won’t say it’ as lingering issue more worrying than key impending departure

Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, July 2022

Liverpool have still not got over the departure of Sadio Mane amid the likelihood of Roberto Firmino leaving next summer, one pundit has said.

The Reds have endured a mixed start to the campaign, winning only three of their eight matches so far. Several areas of Jurgen Klopp’s team have faced criticism for their roles in Liverpool’s struggles.

At the back, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defending has faced serious questions.

In midfield, meanwhile, injuries and a subsequent reliance on older players has not escaped the limelight for the wrong reasons. However, the departure of Mane to Bayern Munich is still lingering as a cause for concern.

After 120 goals in six seasons at Anfield, the Senegal international sought pastures new in the summer. Liverpool replaced him with Darwin Nunez, but the Uruguayan has yet to properly gel with his team-mates – and vice versa.

Brazilian star Firmino could be next to go from the front line as his contract runs out at the end of the season. According to Frank McAvennie, Liverpool should stop worrying about his exit because Mane’s exit is still proving a sore loss.

“They’re going younger, aren’t they? They’re moving on,” McAvennie told Football Insider of Liverpool’s recruitment plans.

“[Luis] Diaz, Nunez – I think they looked good last night. Nunez was good against Ajax, even if he was perhaps trying too hard.

“He looked sharp, and Diaz would chase a crisp packet on a windy day.

“Never mind Firmino – they’ve not got to grips with Mane leaving yet. I think Salah won’t say it, but he misses him.”

Liverpool going in right direction

Liverpool look like they are finally going in the right direction following their Champions League win over Ajax.

They created more chances and showed a lot more intensity in their pressing. Indeed, they could have been out of sight in the first half at Anfield.

And Nunez has been told by one pundit that he should keep on coming off the Liverpool bench – as opposed to starting games.

Salah has also played more out wide than in previous seasons, which has been highlighted as a potential concern for the Reds going forward.

He top-scored with another 30-plus goal haul last term but his strike against Ajax was only his third of the current campaign.

Luis Diaz bedding in after Mane exit

Over on the other flank, Colombia international Diaz is doing his best to replace Mane on the left.

Diaz has far and away looked one of Liverpool’s best and most consistent players this season alongside Harvey Elliott.

And he was energetic as always against Ajax, despite not adding to his goal against Napoli in the 4-1 hammering.

There are promising signs at Liverpool, but there is still a long way to go before they get back to their best.

For manager Klopp, it is just about cementing what was good from the win over Ajax and taking that forward into their next game.

The Reds return to action after the international break when facing Brighton at Anfield.