Steven Smith: Is Salah’s Absence a Boost for LFC?

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Mohamed Salah & The Injury Which May Help the Reds Season

Injury News

News of Mohamed Salah’s injury resonated through all social media on Thursday night, as the god like talisman of Egypt limped off the pitch with a suspected hamstring injury. Medical evaluations and resulting scans will be undertaken on Friday or Saturday, with the likelihood of any concrete news not coming to the fire until after Liverpool face Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon. What is certain and consistent with the Egyptian King’s footballing legacy, is his near bulletproof status and injury record that is remarkably clean, especially given the amount of rough housing he receives on the pitch. Before the confirmation of the extent is confirmed, I thereby choose to speculate on the positives that could well prevail.

Speculation on the Injury’s Impact

How Could This Injury Aid Liverpool and Their Record Breaking Forward…? If the issue is diagnosed as a minor strain or low-grade hamstring injury, such a blessing may only keep the 31-year-old sidelined for a week to ten days. This type of timeline is a best-case scenario of course, one which would probably keep him out of the remainder of Egypt’s AFCON participation. It is conceivable that without Mohamed Salah available for selection, elimination in the first knock out round (or even from the group stage), would end Egypt’s pursuit of glory. Due to that and with a complete Liverpool supporting mindset, my obvious bias has me wondering what dates and (more importantly) which domestic encounters could now involve the famous Anfield eleven.

Upcoming Liverpool Matches

  • Bournemouth – (away) – 21st January – PL
  • Fulham – (home) – 24th January – PL
  • Norwich – (home) 28th January – FA Cup
  • Chelsea – (home) – 31st January – PL
  • Arsenal – (away) – 4th February – PL
  • Burnley – (home) – 10th February – PL

The earliest I could see the Premier League’s top scorer return to action (for his club), is the trip to Arsenal on the 4th of February. My blinkered hope is that Mo’s national team has been eliminated from the African Cup of Nations by that point, thus allowing the former Roma winger to return to Merseyside. I would imagine that given the stature and importance of the man; he would choose to remain with his squad mates until they were knocked out.

Title Race and Squad Management

That away game against the gunners could be pivotal in the title race, which is delicately balanced between the top four teams. My belief is that eventually Manchester City and the reds will force a two-horse race, however, a few twists and turns before the home straight are inevitable. Aston Villa and Arsenal will of course remain relevant, until they are no longer so.

What must be considered also, is that if a minor injury were to be confirmed, it may represent the ability to undertake an unexpected break from football for the legendary forward. Even unbreakable assets will deteriorate over time, as shown with Bobby Firmino in the two years before his Anfield departure. Game and load management will need to be incorporated into the equation at some point, essentially concerning the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, and a few other senior players.

I saw the recent (and relatively straightforward) injury to Trent Alexander Arnold as something that could help him maintain his form through the latter stages, which is something I also iterated when Alison Becker was ruled out for a spell a few months back. The frenetic and explosive fixture list of elite footballing clubs are creating the need for bigger and more able squads. We have already seen the emergence of key young talents this season, which is necessary in the modern game. Injuries can often be demoralising, yet sometimes they can be a timely blessing.

Contingency for a Serious Injury

When competing in such a high intensity title race, every angle must be considered, with every inch gained where possible. The delicate balance of this LFC squad means that certain entities are close to irreplaceable, especially if taken away from the squad for more than the odd game. My initial thoughts are always going to be positive, therefore, I choose to look at the benefits of what has occurred in the AFCON this week. What I am not ignorant to, is the importance and reality of the situation, which could have a horrid impact on Liverpool FC and their chances of 2024 silverware. If the news drops that Jürgen Klopp’s primary goal scorer is out for several months, I would hope that future plans are brought forward, to help lessen the blow of such a loss.

Those plans would see Michael Olise signed before the month is out, which is yet another way to look at the real impact of the injury.

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