Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confessed that forward Mohamed Salah has been unsettled by the changes to the club’s forward line this season.
The Reds sold Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in the summer, replacing the Senegalese international with Darwin Nunez, while Cody Gakpo also joined from PSV Eindhoven this summer to help cope with injuries to Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz.
Salah, who had 23 goals and 14 assists last season, is yet to hit his best form this time around, finding the back of the net just seven times in the first half of the campaign, and Klopp admitted the collapse of Liverpool’s famous front three – Salah, Firmino and Mane – has she took her toll on the Egyptians.
“Oh yes, of course he is suffering,” said Klopp. “It was a well drilled front three machine, everything was clear what we were doing.
“It’s a specific, attacking game that requires a lot of work and a lot of information, and not always obvious information. You develop a feel for a lot of these things, where your teammate is and where to pass the ball without looking.” . That’s not great, but we can’t expect to get back to our best, win 5-0 and go into the next game. We have to work hard. Nobody wants to hear it, but we have to do it.”
Gakpo’s arrival has added a new dynamism to Liverpool, even if it has yet to fully show, but Klopp once again pointed to a lack of rhythm throughout his front line to explain the Dutchman’s early struggles.
“Now we have Cody as a really important asset, as a connector, he can play on the wing and in the center,” said the boss.
“When Darwin plays there, he’s obviously more up, he goes behind. We’ve never played with a nine before, although Sadio has played a position he’s dropped at times.”
“It’s all good if everyone was there and we could build something, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”