How Liverpool have coped without Mohamed Salah

When Liverpool waved Mohamed Salah goodbye after his two-goal haul against Newcastle on January 1, they thought they wouldn’t see their top goalscorer again until Egypt’s involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations was at an end. 

Despite some iffy performances in the group stages, Rui Vitoria’s side have made it through to the knockout rounds but their captain will not be with them when the Pharaohs play against the runners up in Group F in the round of 16 in San Pedro, Ivory Coast on January 28. 

Salah’s hamstring injury which he suffered against Ghana on January 18 was initially expected to keep him out for one or two matches but on Monday the player’s agent Ramy Abbas delivered the bad news. 

The 31-year-old will be out for up to a month due to a hamstring tear and will arrive back at Liverpool’s training ground ahead of schedule on Wednesday. 

The club say they are hoping to give Salah the best possible chance of playing in the latter stages of the AFCON tournament by taking control of his recovery. 

Mohamed Salah talks to an Egypt teammate in the dugout after suffering an injury during the Africa Cup of Nations match against Ghana.

Mohamed Salah, ProShots

So Salah will soon be back on Merseyside with both sets of fans - Egypt and Liverpool alike - now nervously waiting on news which will confirm when he will be fit enough to play. 

Liverpool will have initially factored in Egypt’s status as Africa’s continental kings and their ability to go deep in the tournament when Salah departed early in January.

Jurgen Klopp and his staff would have expected to lose Salah for any length of time up to and including the final which takes place on February 11 in Abidjan. 

However, Salah’s injury means that he may well now be out for a bit longer than that. With games against Arsenal and Chelsea upcoming in the league, and a potential EFL Cup final on the horizon, the Reds face a tricky period of matches without their striking legend. Quite how long more they will have to do without him remains to be seen. 

Liverpool's impressive record without Salah

But Liverpool have coped well in Salah’s absence previously.

Salah has taken part in 332 Liverpool matches overall, securing 214 wins, for a Reds’ win percentage of 64.5. Without him, Liverpool have played 34 matches, winning 27, for a win percentage of 79.4. 

With Salah in the side, they average 2.12 points per game while without Salah that number sits at 2.5 points per game. 

Salah has played in 63 Liverpool draws and 55 losses. Without him they have drawn four and lost only three.

The former Roma star is remarkably durable. Since joining Liverpool in 2017, he has played in over 90 percent of the club’s matches. 

He has been rested here and there, mostly in the domestic cups, and aside from his Afcon participation, Salah has been available almost whenever required by Klopp. 

But when he’s not there, Liverpool have coped. Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota provided hope last weekend in their first Premier League encounter this season without Salah. 

Unbeaten run

The duo starred in a routine 4-0 win against Bournemouth. That was only the 11th occasion in which they have had to do without Salah in the league throughout the near-seven year period since he joined. 

Interestingly, they have never lost in the league without him in the ranks, drawing three games and winning the rest. 

Moreover, he has missed only ONE Champions League match in his time at Anfield, that unbelievable 4-0 victory against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg which confirmed Liverpool’s place in the final. 

Mo Salah, Liverpool vs Arsenal - Propaganda

Mo Salah, Liverpool vs Arsenal - Propaganda

The player lauded by Klopp as a machine has become only the fifth man to pass the 200-goal mark in Liverpool red; he now has 204 and 88 assists for good measure. 

He has won every trophy available to him for the Reds. This season he again leads the goalscoring charts with 14 and has provided another eight assists. 

But if there is one thing Klopp’s men have guaranteed in Salah’s absence it’s that they can keep the show on the road. 

With the form of Nunez and Jota, as well as the imminent comebacks of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Dominik Sbozoszlai, there is no shortage of talent to pick up the burden and keep Liverpool in contention for the Premier League title as well as in the race for domestic cup glory. 

And the club will be hopeful that when they welcome back a fully-fit Salah, whenever that may be, he will be their difference maker.

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