‘It’s killing Salah’ - Former Liverpool star on how £85m striker’s arrival has impacted Golden Boot winner

Jurgen Klopp’s side have had to tweak their system to include their marquee summer signing and it has seen their Egyptian magician struggle to score in the Premier League.

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Mohamed Salah’s rapid, record breaking hat-trick in Wednesday’s 7-1 Champions League win over Rangers saw him bring his goal total to eight in 13 matches this season.

However, just two of those have come in his eight Premier League appearances which is considerably down on the seven he netted in the same time period last season. The Egyptian eventually went on to share the Golden Boot award with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min as he finished the 2021/22 campaign with 23 league goals. Those figures have led one former Liverpool player to claim that the dip in the 30-year old’s scoring proficiency is down to the summer arrival of Darwin Nunez.

The Reds spent £85 million to bring the Uruguayan to Anfield from Benfica and that, along with the departure of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, has seen a tweak in the way Jurgen Klopp’s side approach fixtures. Specifically, it is “killing’ Salah according to former Liverpool and Newcastle United full back Jose Enrique. The Spaniard believes Nunez’s arrival has been the key factor in last season’s top scorer failing to hit the back of the net as often as he has in previous seasons.

Speaking to Midnite, he said: “Mo Salah can definitely use the hat-trick to get back to his best. In my opinion, the wingers used to be strikers really, close to the centre-backs, and Salah played yesterday as a striker. But now with Darwin Nunez it has changed a little bit, he is the one who will run into the spaces and you have the wingers as being more open.

“For Luis Diaz this is helping him, because he’s that kind of winger, but it’s killing Salah. For his confidence he needs goals. So I’m not sure what he’s going to do against City, it’s going to be interesting. Because when he plays that central role, he makes a difference, he scores goals. But it’s definitely a big step, and Salah has to play a central role, not as wide as he’s playing now.”

Enrique then went on to discuss the Premier League title race and Liverpool’s transfer policy in general, saying: “I think they have a weaker squad than they had last season. You need to keep improving. You can lose Mane, even if I don’t understand it, but then they go for a 23-year-old from Portugal.

“ It was the first season he played really well in Portugal, and then he’s coming here and you’re giving him all the pressure of a number nine at Liverpool, and you think he’s going to be like Mane? I think if they gave Klopp the money that I think he deserves, I believe Liverpool would have two or three more trophies. But they are out of the Premier League race. They have to focus on getting top-four.”