Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah is “suffering” from being part of an unstable top three this season, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
The Egyptian striker has scored seven goals in 19 Premier League games this season after netting 23 in 2021-22.
He has played in three different front lines in his last three games.
“Of course he is in pain,” Klopp said. “It’s a specific attacking game that requires a lot of work and a lot of information.”
Salah’s front three Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane had become synonymous with Liverpool’s aggressive style of play and won a Champions League and a Premier League title.
“It was a well-drilled machine the first three, it was all clear what we were doing,” Klopp said.
“You create a feeling about a lot of these things, where your teammate is and where to pass the ball without looking.”
But since Mane left for Bayern Munich last summer, Salah, 30, has played alongside variations of Firmino, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Harvey Elliot, Fabio Carvalho and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain and struggled to make connections. .
Klopp’s favorite starting trio of Salah, Nunez and Diaz have only been on the pitch for 343 minutes together this season.
Nunez’s summer arrival and January signing from Gakpo are still settling the squad, with the former scoring five goals in 14 Premier League games, and Klopp has said they will have important roles to play.
“Now we have Cody as a very important asset, like a connector, he can also play wing and centre,” said the German.
“When Darwin plays there, he’s obviously higher, behind. We’ve never played with a nine before, even when Sadio [Mane] played in the position he lost in a few moments.
“It’s good if they were all there and we could build something, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”
However, Firmino and Jota are closing in on returns from injury and Klopp said it will give his side ‘more options’ to ‘mix up’.
But, with his side ninth in the Premier League and having managed just seven points in their last five games, Klopp said his problems were bigger than the top three.
“If you had scored hundreds of goals in the past and you’re not scoring anymore, that’s the first thing you would think of, but that’s not our problem at the moment,” he said.
“But usually you have a real base to build on and that’s what we don’t have. The problem is you need time and nobody wants to invest time.
“I wish everything was easier again and that we had already qualified for the finals at the end of the season.
“This situation is not perfect but the base of the last two games is something I like.”