Klopp hails 'exceptional Salah' after latest Liverpool landmark
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Jamie Carragher has warned Liverpool will be making “a serious mistake” if they fail to tie Mohamed Salah down to a new contract. Salah’s current deal with Jurgen Klopp’s side expires in 2023, but talks between the Premier League giants and the player’s representatives appear to have reached an impasse.
Salah has started the season with a bang, with his double against Porto in the Champions League this week taking his tally to eight goals in as many games this term.
He has scored 40-plus goals in each of his four campaigns with Liverpool, helping Klopp’s side to European and Premier League glory and smashing a host of records in the process.
His blistering form has led to much talk over his future, with speculation linking him to interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona throughout last season.
Carragher says only Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could afford Salah – but warned Liverpool must pull out all the stops to convince him to commit to a new deal amid the “worrying” possibility he could leave on a free transfer at the end of next season.
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He believes Liverpool’s owners FSG must go against their own policy of handing long contracts to players over 30, pointing out that the 29-year-old Salah is in perfect physical condition and could emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi by playing at the highest level well into his 30s.
“It is well documented how Liverpool run their business, and they do not want to set precedents that will cause long-term financial damage by agreeing wages in excess of £400,000-a-week,” Carragher wrote in his column for The Telegraph.
“Handing such a four-year deal to Salah, for example, represents a commitment of around £83.2m. There will be a calculation that if his level significantly drops after he turns 30, the club might be stuck with a high earner who is draining resources.
“My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception.
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“Everything about Salah suggests that unless he suffers serious injury he is in such perfect physical shape and such a professional on and off the pitch, he will still be producing until he is 33, and probably for a couple of years beyond that.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are an inspiration to their peers, showing how the early 30s are no barrier to enduring excellence.”
Carragher says James Milner is also still performing “at the highest level” with the midfielder about to turn 36, predicting Salah will do the same.
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The former Reds defender says he admires FSG for “transforming Liverpool’s recruitment policy“, but insisted they must not let a rival club benefit from the way Liverpool have nurtured Salah’s talent.
And he believes if Salah can be convinced to stay for another four years, he will come close to matching the club’s highest scorers Ian Rush, who netted 346 times, and 285-goal Roger Hunt, who sadly passed away this week.
If anyone assembles an all-time greatest Liverpool XI, Salah’s name must now be in it,” Carragher wrote.
“Should he stay for another four years, Salah will be close to matching Hunt’s 285 for the club, only Rush above him in the all-time goalscoring list. These are insanely impressive numbers for someone who does not play as a central striker.”
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