Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp may have hinted at some trouble in the water in Liverpool after an awkward exchange in Sunday’s draw against Chelsea. The Premier League sides shared the spoils as the curtains raised on a new season after an exciting first half fizzled out into a tense affair at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool took the lead in the 18th minute after Mohamed Salah’s defence-splitting pass left a simple finish for Luis Diaz.
But Chelsea debutant Axel Disasi fired back before half-time, latching onto Ben Chilwell’s looped header over Virgil van Dijk before finding the net from six yards.
The heavyweight clash was finely poised as the final 15 minutes approached, with both teams eyeing a go-ahead goal. But a bold move from Klopp saw Salah leave the pitch for 17-year-old forward Ben Doak.
And the Egyptian made his disappointment public, ripping off his wrist tape with a stern look toward the bench on his face.
Klopp, potentially unhappy with the experienced star’s reaction, ignored him as he left the pitch and headed for his seat on the bench.
It was a worrying sight at the dawn of a crucial season after Liverpool’s 2022/23 failures. However, a point away at Chelsea won’t be viewed as a disastrous start.
Salah may have been surprised by his withdrawal more than anything after spending years as Klopp’s leading talisman at Anfield.
But the 31-year-old’s performance against Chelsea wasn’t his finest, despite the moment of brilliance he produced to tee up Diaz.
Salah could only maintain a 76 per cent pass accuracy, took just 31 touches, and none of his three shots hit the target.
The No 11 also won just one of his four duels and lost possession nine times during his 77 minutes on the pitch.
There is a sense of a new era around Liverpool at the start of the campaign amid a significant midfield revamp, with more dealings expected in the coming weeks.
Salah will be a crucial figure if the Reds are to return to the Champions League via a top-four finish or Europa League triumph.
He’s bound to be hungry to notch his first goal of the new season in Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures ahead of the international break.
Klopp’s side host AFC Bournemouth at Anfield and face a daunting trip to Newcastle United before welcoming Aston Villa to Merseyside.
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