Liverpool's £150m transfer decision will be priceless after new whispers from Saudi Arabia


It is the £150million decision that, with each passing week, looks increasingly priceless for Liverpool. And the longer Mohamed Salah is persuaded to resist the lure of Saudi Arabia, so increases the evidence the Egyptian king can extend his Anfield reign beyond the end of the season.

Salah continued his impressive form when a brace against Brentford on Sunday earned Liverpool a 3-0 Premier League win and moved Jurgen Klopp's side to within a point of leaders Manchester City ahead of the top two meeting at the Etihad following the international break on Saturday week.

The 31-year-old now has 12 goals and four assists in 17 appearances this campaign - 14 of those goal involvements coming in 12 league games alone - with City's Erling Haaland the only Premier League player to net more in all competitions.

And it was another performance of landmarks, with Salah becoming the first Liverpool player to score in each of the first six home games of a campaign and his second a 200th goal for an English club, all bar two of which have come with the Reds.

"Mo Salah gets praised a lot but I don't know if he gets enough praise," said Brentford boss Thomas Frank after his team had seen up close the devastation the Egyptian can still wreak. "I think now off the top of my head, he is the best player in the Premier League, potentially."

Those comments were a direct reference to the perception that, outside of Anfield, Salah isn't quite as universally appreciated as should be merited in England. There's no such issue with Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, whose £150m offer for the player on deadline day in September was flatly rejected by Liverpool.

As the most high-profile Muslim footballer in the world, he remains high on the wanted list of Saudi Arabia, although a January move won't be an option given Salah will be on Africa Cup of Nations duty. Next summer will be a test of Liverpool's resolve, given the Egyptian will be entering the final year of his current deal.

For his part, Salah has remained tight-lipped over a possible move. However, the experience of those who made the leap from a major European league to Saudi Arabia in the summer should prove instructive, with question marks over the standard of play and alarm at the low attendances of several clubs. Indeed, there are whispers some players are understood to be regretting their decision, despite the obvious financial rewards.

Then there could be a sense of unfinished business at Liverpool, particularly if a top-four position is secured this term. Salah, after appearing in three Champions League finals, would surely love a crack at a fourth before his Anfield career is over.

If Salah is somewhat going under the radar this season, then the same could be said of Liverpool, who for many have crept up into second place by stealth. While it would be untrue to suggest the Reds haven't earned plaudits, the spotlight has fallen primarily on other teams for reasons good and bad.

The love-in for Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham Hotspur has lessened somewhat in the last week after successive defeats and a number of key injuries, while Arsenal have benefited from seven of their 12 games having been played at home.

Manchester United's curious campaign - nine wins, nine defeats, no draws and only six points behind Liverpool - has taken up much air time and column inches, so too a wildly inconsistent Chelsea and the strangely criticism-resistant Newcastle United. Manchester City, meanwhile, have just carried on regardless despite issues exposed by the long-term absence of Kevin De Bruyne.

Operating out of the glare may be how Klopp prefers Liverpool to operate at present with his evolving team. He was pointed in his criticism after they followed last weekend's poor draw at Luton Town with a hugely disappointing 3-2 Europa League reverse at Toulouse on Thursday, saying he was happy with the praise for his team and individuals but reminding them they have to justify such hype.

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