HomePREMIER LEAGUEJürgen Klopp has the Brighton trump card, but the resemblance of Erling...

Jürgen Klopp has the Brighton trump card, but the resemblance of Erling Haaland alludes to a Liverpool explosion.


Jürgen Klopp has the Brighton trump card, but the resemblance of Erling Haaland alludes to a Liverpool explosion.

Liverpool is struggling right now, but Erling Haaland believes one player could help Jürgen Klopp against Brighton even if Darwin Nez is unavailable.

It never rains, but when it does, it pours. On top of a string of poor performances against Leicester City, Brentford, and Wolves, Liverpool completed another unpleasant hat-trick as Darwin Nunez joined Virgil Van Dijk and James Milner on the injury list since the start of the season.

The hope is that the problem is minor rather than serious, but that was also the diagnosis for Roberto Firmino, who has missed five games and counting.

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The injuries sustained by Nez and Firmino’s numbers complement those of Luis Daz and Diogo Jota, and remove any notion that the January addition of Cody Gakpo was anything nearing luxury. The Dutchman’s starting position has been raised from ‘possible’ to ‘likely’ for the weekend clash at Brighton. He’ll be looking to build on a strong debut against Wolves, but Jürgen Klopp will be hoping his main man can reclaim center stage as he approaches another landmark.

Mohamed Salah’s starting position is, as always, ‘anticipated’. Unless something goes wrong, the Egyptian will play his 300th game in English football at the Amex Stadium. His stay in this country has covered the entire spectrum of foreign player experience.

Beginning as a costly flop at Chelsea, Salah rose through the ranks at Liverpool, becoming a champion and legend with 175 goals and 73 assists (and counting). Liverpool fans may dismiss Salah’s 19 games and two goals for Chelsea, but Salah does not. This is a man who is as obsessed with records as he is with objectives. He’ll be fully aware that a hat-trick of his own would bring him to 128 Premier League goals, tying him with Robbie Fowler as Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer.

Salah has had to take a back seat this season in terms of game plan and publicity as Nez — dubbed Captain Chaos — has stormed into the Premier League. Last year at this time, the debate was over how Ballon d’Or voters could declare there were six better players in the world. Salah set out on a mission to lead his country to the AFCON 2022 final.

Before leaving for Cameroon, he had 16 goals in 21 league games, establishing a strong claim to be the greatest. They kept Liverpool within striking distance of Manchester City, preparing for an ultimately futile title challenge in the second half of 2021/22.

This time, seven goals in 17 games means he’s only the best player in the club, let alone the entire planet. Salah will be grateful to Nez for controlling the conversation; otherwise, his role would be much more scrutinized.

The big chances missed table has become a familiar rod with which to bash Uruguay, but a closer look reveals that he is not the only man who has questions. Salah is tied for second place with Erling Haaland and Ivan Toney. Haaland and Toney are also among the top three Premier League scorers, indicating that volume is just as crucial as efficiency when becoming a great goal-getter. If you want to score, you must be willing to miss.

When Salah looks at the Golden Boot rankings, he’ll see six names ahead of him, a status that will sting much more than the Ballon d’Or rejection. While that honor is steeped in politics and views, the Golden Boot is based on pure facts. The player with the most points wins the prize. The Egyptian has already accumulated three of them using that formula. Being so far behind in a tournament he has controlled for half a decade will be unacceptable to a man with such big goals.

Brighton appears to have everything Liverpool now lacks: flair, enthusiasm, and confidence. The latter is the most puzzling, as despite all of the crisis talk, Liverpool outperforms its opponents in a variety of key categories, including more points, more goals scored, fewer goals conceded, and more points from the last five games. Nonetheless, the eye test remains unfavorable, as Roberto de Zerbi’s side fired nine goals past Everton and Middlesbrough, while Liverpool have continued to struggle in all three team units.

Salah is one man who is looking forward to visiting the south coast. Six Brighton is one of his favorite opponents, with goals and six assists in 11 games – he’s left with a goal contribution on every prior visit to the Amex. In the absence of his injured teammates and the razor-thin margins involved in clawing back a seven-point gap to Manchester United and the Champions League places, Salah’s contribution will be more vital than ever.

He is well equipped for the challenge. Salah replicated his 2018/19 Golden Boot-winning tally of 22 during the last severe confidence issue at Anfield, when injuries seized a stranglehold in 2020/21.

The defense, and in one extraordinary occasion, the goalkeeper, are important to the story of that pandemic-affected season. Salah, on the other hand, was the piston, stepping forward if Alisson was the trigger. When it counted the most, he scored or assisted in six of the last seven games to propel his club to third place. The same can be said about the national team, as Salah’s goals helped the team win both the World Cup qualifying campaign in 2018 and the AFCON 2022.

Liverpool requires such leadership, especially when other senior characters such as Alisson, Van Dijk, and Henderson are either injured or making mistakes. Salah has long considered himself a leader in the locker room and has been open about his disappointment at not being given the armband while the captain and vice captain are absent. A 300th game in England is unlikely to persuade Klopp to relent, but if Salah scores three goals, That secure three points at Brighton, the German would have no hesitation in proclaiming his key player to be one of the best there has ever been.

Jürgen Klopp has the Brighton trump card, but the resemblance of Erling Haaland alludes to a Liverpool explosion.

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