Mohamed Salah has been the key figure behind Liverpool’s recent resurgence – but it could have all be so different if Jurgen Klopp managed to sign one of his alternate targets.
Since joining the Reds from Roma in 2017 Salah has netted 91 goals in only 144 appearances, firing Liverpool to two Champions League finals – one of which they won – and to within two victories of their first English league title in three decades.
While other signings could be considered the real game-changers for Liverpool – many believe the Reds’ success would not be possible without Alisson or Virgil van Dijk – the arrival of Salah was like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains.
He came first, starting a snowball effect that resulted in Allison and Van Dijk moving to Anfield to restore Liverpool to their perch – the pinnacle of English and European football.
Given all his success, it’s remarkable to think Klopp didn’t actually want Salah to begin with.
His first-choice target was Julian Brandt, the Bayer Leverkusen winger now playing for Borussia Dortmund, while Man City ace Riyad Mahrez has now revealed he was wanted by the Liverpool boss.
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“Before signing for Manchester City, there was interest from Liverpool in me,” said Mahrez to BeIN Sports, “but as soon as they took Mohamed Salah, it was finished.”
One year after Liverpool’s interest in Mahrez began and ended, Man City swooped and signed him for £60million, making the Algeria forward the most expensive African footballer ever.
He left Leicester a Premier League champion, and added another top-flight title – as well as a Carabao Cup and FA Cup – in his debut season with Pep Guardiola’s side.