Graeme Souness believes that Mohamed Salah has not looked anywhere near his Liverpool best since Lisandro Martinez bullied him for Manchester United.
Last season, Egypt star Salah once again proved one of the Reds’ most crucial players. And following a second successive 30-goal haul, he earned a bumper new contract.
The 30-year-old has scored twice and assisted two others in Liverpool’s generally lacklustre six games of the latest campaign.
As always, though, Salah could have had more contributions, including a tap-in he missed against Bournemouth. On Saturday, meanwhile, he thought he scored the winner in the 0-0 draw with Everton – but for Jordan Pickford’s fantastic save.
According to former Liverpool star Souness, Salah has struggled since the 2-1 defeat to Man Utd and Old Trafford. The pundit even picked out new United signing Martinez as the player to bring on the winger’s struggles.
Souness told Sky Sports: “I’m looking at Salah for Liverpool against Man Utd and in the first five minutes Martinez goes right through him.
“The rest of the game, Mo Salah looked for Martinez and looked for where he was. I’ve not seen the same Mo Salah since.
“I just hope – and he’s signed the big contract he wanted – but at this level if you knock off half a per cent or one per cent then you are not the same player.”
Souness added that he is hoping to make Salah “angry” and provoke a reaction from the star.
“I hope this is not him getting semi into his armchair because he has signed a big contract,” the pundit said. “I’m saying that as a Liverpool supporter, hopefully to make him angry and prove me wrong.”
Salah faces more Liverpool criticism
Speaking to BT Sport after Saturday’s Merseyside derby, Peter Crouch aimed further criticism at Salah.
The former striker said: “The last five or ten minutes they were applying pressure and Salah had moments in that last ten minutes where you thought ‘why couldn’t you do that in the first half.
“That’s going to be another criticism labelled at Liverpool because he’s started badly. They just didn’t start well.”
Liverpool return to action on Wednesday when facing Napoli away in their first Champions League group stage game.
Reds keep needing to react
In the first half of the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, the game swung this way and that.
But, in previous seasons, you would definitely have seen Liverpool take control and calm the game down. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp’s men would then likely have created chances.
However, starting games well remains a big issue for the Reds.
Had Conor Coady’s goal in the second half stood following a later offside call, that would have made it nine out of the last 10 games in which Liverpool have conceded the first goal.
The issues in midfield are obviously not helping, but missing key chances up top is also a key aspect of their current struggles.
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