Michael Owen warns Liverpool: 'Without these two players you'd only be a DECENT team'

Michael Owen has urged Liverpool to keep Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk at the club for as long as possible, warning that the Reds are merely a ‘decent’ team without the duo. 

The high-profile pair, along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, are out of contract at the end of next season with no progress so far on a potential new deal for either. 

Salah, 32, has been a target for Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad for a year or so with the Anfield side fending off £150 million offer for the Egyptian king last summer.

Van Dijk, who turns 33 this summer, has been linked with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as well as Saudi Pro League teams such as Al-Nassr

Liverpool appear to be forming plans to replace both Van Dijk and Salah in the long-term with numerous transfer links to left-sided centre backs and right-sided forwards. 

Riccardo Calafiori, Goncalo Inacio, Levi Colwill and Piero Hincapie are among the names linked with arrivals in the central defensive department while players like Dario Osorio and Mohammed Kudus have been mooted as potential attacking signings. 

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool

Premier League Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match Liverpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 19th May 2024 Photo by Craig Thomas/News Images Copyright: xCraigxThomas/NewsxImagesx

Salah and Van Dijk are among the club’s top earners, commanding over £500,000 a week between them and ex-Red Owen understands the predicament the club finds itself in. 

The balance between striking the right deal for the club and gaining maximum return from players must be kept in check, he suggests. 

Furthermore, he believes Michael Edwards and Richard Hughes need to do everything in their power to prolong Salah and Van Dijk’s stays as without them the side would be distinctly average. 

Mohamed Salah

Open Training For The national team, Nationalteam Of Egypt Mohamed Salah is training with the Egyptian national team the day before the match against Burkina Faso in the qualifiers for the World Cup 2026, in Cairo, Egypt, on June 5, 2024, at Cairo International Stadium. Cairo Egypt PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xAymanxArefx originalFilename:aref-notitle240605_npsrD.jpg

"It all depends on what terms and things like that, doesn't it,” he told AceOdds as reported by DAZN

“There’s always fans out there that are so desperate that say: ‘Just give them whatever they want’ and I'm not a person who thinks that, of course. 

“But you've got to keep the difference makers. You've got to find difference-makers. 

"Liverpool have probably got three or four in their team that are the difference between being a decent team and a great team. 

“And every team is the same. There will be good players, great players, and then there's just the absolute elite, and Virgil Van Dijk is the absolute elite. 

"Mo Salah in his position, is the absolute elite. If you take both of them out of the team, they're not going to win the league next year. They are that important. Unless you replace them obviously with top equal players.

“So, yes, I would very much like to see Mo Salah and Van Dijk continue. 

"There's no sign of them aging, apart from, obviously, we all age every single day. But there's no sign in their performance that they're aging. 

“I would like to see Liverpool have both of those players for the foreseeable."

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