Liverpool have been told they could lose star attacker Mohamed Salah if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Having crashed out of Europe in midweek, a top four finish is now the Reds’ only route into the 2021/22 competition. But they face a battle to secure one as we approach the end of what has been a disappointing year for the defending champions. With seven games left to play, the Reds are sixth in the league and trail fourth placed West Ham by three points.
That leaves them requiring a strong finish if they are to make the most of a bad situation.
But if they fall short of that target, former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes it could spell the end of Salah’s time at Anfield.
In a column for Empire of the Kop, he wrote: “I really hope Mo Salah stays at Liverpool. I actually don’t think this season has been his best in terms of performance. But he still gets the goals – the most important thing in football.
“When we’ve not played well, he’s still scored. The fact we’re still fighting for the top four is because of him.”
The Egyptian has netted 28 goals in 44 outings this term. That is his best return since his debut campaign for the Merseyside club.
Enrique continued: “But without Champions League next season, there is a risk Liverpool won’t be able to afford the contract he is probably asking for.
“I really believe if Liverpool put the right money on the table, he’ll sign. But top players want Champions League and big wages – and big wages come with Champions League football…
“If we finish in the top four, he’ll sign a new deal. I believe that. After all, where can he go that is better than LFC? He can complain about the weather – that’s it.”
Salah’s current contract does not expire until the summer of 2023. However, Liverpool are keen to keep him beyond that and have made securing his future a priority.
Salah suitors face a challenge
Despite his concerns, Enrique added that a lack of feasible options could be a factor that sees Salah stay put.
The likes of Real Madrid and PSG continue to be linked with swoops should the attacker be on the lookout for a fresh start.
Champions League semi-finalists PSG reportedly see Salah as a potential Kylian Mbappe replacement.
Recently, the player himself even hinted that a move to La Liga could be on the cards at some point.
However, Enrique does not believe either of those sides have a realistic chance of signing him.
“Really though, who can afford Salah?,” he said.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona have financial issues and PSG will want to spend their money to keep Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
“Real Madrid spent £100m+ on Eden Hazard, who was 28/29, and regret it.”