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SOCCER

David James urges Liverpool to stand firm on Salah contract demands

Mohamed Salah’s contract talks with Liverpool continue, but ex-goalkeeper David James says that he would remind the Egypt international that “No one is bigger than the club”.

Update:
Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz in training on Friday. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Andrew PowellGetty

As legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once quipped, “A football team is a bit like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing!” Shankly also knew that no one - no single player or employee was bigger than the club or should ever come before it. It would be interesting to hear what Shankly would have made of Mohamed Salah’s ongoing contract negotiations. The Egyptian’s contractual arrangement with the Reds will expire in June 2023 but he has yet to agree fresh terms. He is allegedly holding out for a lucrative new package and insists that his desire is to remain at Anfield.

David James spent seven seasons at Anfield, the former goalkeeper was the latest to give his thoughts on Salah’s contract saga within the context of the inner workings at his old club. “Quite simply, Liverpool won’t offer him a contract that is wrong for them. As they say, no one is bigger than the club,” James told Stats Perform. “If he feels he could get more [money] elsewhere, and that’s what he wants, then he’ll have to go somewhere else. That would be the best business Liverpool can do with regards to sticking to whatever their policy is, rather than changing it to cater for an individual and upsetting the model.”

International disappointment

Salah has scored 28 goals in all competitions so far this season - a tally only bettered by Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (37) and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (45) from Europe’s major leagues. He is currently joint-sixth in the ESM Golden Shoe rankings. Salah’s form and numbers have suffered a dip in recent weeks - he has found the target just once in his last seven outings, perhaps a consequence of his recent setbacks with Egypt’s national team. Egypt were beaten in the Africa Cup of Nations final and eliminated from this year’s World Cup in the playoffs - on both occasions to Senegal and via a penalty shootout.

“There’s been frustration because he’s trying to score goals, rather than trying harder for the team,” James added. “What I’d seen this season up to AFCON was Mo helping out. It was perfect harmony. But all of a sudden it was almost like ‘I’m going away for a month, let me try and get my goals now because I can’t score them when I’m away’. That sort of frustration is more detrimental to his performance. With the negative experiences of the AFCON and World Cup, you start asking ‘Where’s the desperation?’ Is there a desperation to his performances to try to make up for those other losses?”

In the meantime, Reds boss Jürgen Klopp is taking Salah’s contract dealings in his stride, with the hope that all sides can reach some common ground - as he explained earlier this week: “I’m happy with it because there is nothing new to say and that’s good. The decisive parties are talking to each other, and that’s all I need”.

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