Mohamed Salah's new contract and the reasons Liverpool will not fear repeat of Luis Suarez or Philippe Coutinho
Mohamed Salah has signed a new five-year contract at Liverpool
12:00, 2 JUL 2018UPDATED13:11, 2 JUL 2018 The cynics will question the significance of Mohamed Salah's new five-year contract.
They will point to the fact that Luis Suarez committed his future to Liverpool in similar fashion and within seven months was being unveiled at Barcelona.
They will tell you that just six months after signing a lucrative new deal Philippe Coutinho was demanding to follow Suarez to the Nou Camp and the Brazilian belatedly got his own way back in January.
They have a point. Once bitten, twice shy and all that. Salah putting pen to paper certainly doesn't guarantee that Kopites will be treated to his awe-inspiring brilliance right through until 2023. The landscape can change quickly in football. To retain a player of Salah's calibre for the long-term Liverpool need to ensure they continue to match his ambition.
You can guarantee that Europe's elite will be busy over the coming years desperately trying to lure one of the most gifted talents on the planet away from Anfield.
The Coutinho saga proved that regardless of how long a player has left on their contract, it's difficult to keep hold of someone whose heart is no longer in it, especially when £142million is on the table.
But there are genuine reasons to believe that things will be different with Salah.
“I am very happy here and everything is fine,” he beamed, after sweeping the board at the LFC Players Awards back in May. “This is just the start. I have got ambitions for the future with Liverpool.”
Now those words have been backed up by deeds following months of speculation in Spain about Real Madrid plotting a move for the Egyptian winger. His contentment with life on Merseyside is clear for all to see. Off the field, his young family are settled and on it, he established himself as a global superstar during a record-breaking first season with the Reds. The 26-year-old cherishes his close bond with the Kop. He took the fast-track to legendary status by netting 44 times in 2017/18 – just three shy of Ian Rush's club record for goals in a season.
The PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year also fully appreciates the role that Jurgen Klopp has played in fitting him into a system and a style of play which has given him the platform to flourish.
Salah has been a revelation since his £36.9million move from Roma but Liverpool FC has also been great for him and he's humble enough to realise that. He isn't South American, he doesn't have that emotional bond with the Spanish giants that turned the heads of Coutinho and Suarez. The Egyptian winger arrived at Anfield with a point to prove after being shown the door by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and views the Premier League as the toughest in Europe. Liverpool moved quickly to reward his remarkable impact with a contract which effectively doubles his salary and elevates him alongside Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk as the club's highest wage earners on around £200,000 per week. Unlike Suarez, Salah has no release clause. Liverpool are no longer prepared to offer them. That stance contributed to them losing Emre Can, who left on a free transfer to Juventus after negotiations broke down, but it's the right approach. Putting a price on Salah is virtually impossible.
Salah's eagerness to sign is a ringing endorsement of the job Klopp is doing at Anfield. The Reds boss had insisted after the January exit of Coutinho that none of his other star men would follow.
Prior to Suarez and Coutinho going, Liverpool also lost the likes of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres to rivals. They all left talking about their burning desire to win trophies. Klopp wants to turn the clock back and make Liverpool a final destination for elite talent once again. He wants to ensure that any player who leaves Anfield is taking a step down rather than up. The Reds' thrilling run to the Champions League final showed that Klopp has put the club back challenging for the biggest prizes.
Having already convinced Roberto Firmino to sign an extension, now Salah has followed suit. Sadio Mane, the third member of a potent frontline which plundered 91 goals in 2017/18, is the next in line for improved terms.
Great news for Liverpool, bad news for top-flight defenders. When Salah returns to Merseyside later this month he will be rejoining a squad bolstered by the arrival of classy new signings Naby Keita and Fabinho.
Despite the heartache of Kiev, Liverpool remain a resurgent force and with Salah leading the charge the hope is that glory will follow. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/mohamed-salah-new-contract-liverpool-14854308