FSG and Liverpool are playing a dangerous game as Mohamed Salah uncertainty ramped up
A prevalent school of thought is that Liverpool’s success between June 2019 and July 2020 was built on a team-first ethos.
For Jurgen Klopp, there were no superstars dragging the cart to greatness and winning the Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and the Premier League was achieved without the burden of ego.
Of course, the Liverpool boss was able to name some of the finest players in world football in his teams on a week-to-week basis, but there was no real outlier; a player whose stardom significantly dimmed the shine of those around him.
Virgil van Dijk, during that period in particular, was widely hailed as the planet’s best defender, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson ascended to two of the most complete full-backs in the game.
In midfield, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson provided a tireless, powerful engine and Alisson Becker was surely the planet’s preeminent goalkeeper.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – three players informally known to fans as ‘the front three’ collectively – were also at their devastating best as a trio during that time.
Eighteen months on from the peak point of the Klopp era to date, which came when they lifted the Premier League title at Anfield, the Reds are still underpinned by that same mentality.
It remains, for Liverpool, a team game.
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After all, at Liverpool FC, no one figure is bigger than the football club.
In Salah, however, they have someone whose star is now at its own highest point at Anfield.
Regarded by plenty as the best footballer walking the planet at present, Salah’s latest interview, as the cover star of GQ Magazine, showcased his growing status as a pop culture icon.
The chat with the American fashion publication yielded few nuggets that those who follow Salah closely won’t have read before, but crucially, – from the player and his representatives’ point of view, at least – it helped introduce him to a new audience.
Liverpool have had no issue with pushing themselves and their players into new directions of coverage in recent years, meaning lifestyle publications like Complex, Versus and GQ have all had the opportunity to sit down with some of the Reds’ big names.
Such interviews highlight the players as more than just one-dimensional football characters whose only interest is their profession and one of the most likeable aspects of the team that Klopp has constructed, to supporters of all types, is the personality and genuine camaraderie that exists within the group.
But while supporters thumbed through the best images of the Salah photoshoot this week, the most salient soundbite to those who have worshipped at the altar of the Egyptian King for the last five years centred around his Liverpool contract.