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African legend explains ‘pressure’ on Mohamed Salah and urges Liverpool ace to talk to manager

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Former Premier League star Jay-Jay Okocha has questioned the decision to move Mohamed Salah from his favored right-wing role as Liverpool fans await his return.

While Liverpool fans count down the days until Mohamed Salah’s return, plenty has been made of his performance in Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations opener. Despite being one of the pre-tournament favorites, Egypt needed a last-minute penalty from captain Salah to rescue a point against Mozambique on Sunday.

Since his move to Anfield in 2017, Salah has more often than not been deployed wide on the right by Jürgen Klopp, and with great success. He has occasionally led the line for Liverpool — most notably against Manchester City last season, when he scored the winner at Anfield.

Klopp said he was “outstanding” as a central striker. But the 31-year-old found himself in a new position against Mozambique, playing almost as a number 10.

He didn’t exactly shine though and African legend Jay-Jay Okocha believes he needs to have some frank conversations with boss Rui Vitoria about his role, if Egypt are to be successful in the tournament.

“Any team facing Egypt must watch Salah. It is up to the coach to find the best position for him, to get the best performance and result,” Nigerian icon Okocha told KingFut..

“He is one of the greatest African players and he should be more honest with the manager and tell him which position suits him. Salah wants to achieve great success with Egypt and that puts him and the whole team under pressure.”

Vitoria addressed his plans for Salah before the tournament and admitted he has the capabilities to play in a number of positions. “It is clear he can play central and doesn’t necessarily have to play on the wing at all times.” the Egyptian boss said.

Liverpool fans will be keeping an eye on Egypt’s next match against Ghana on Thursday, where a defeat will seriously damage their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages. Should Egypt fail to progress, Salah could be back at Anfield before the end of the month.

Liverpool.com says: Salah has shown over the years at Liverpool that he can play down the middle, but he is certainly at his best when drifting inside from the right flank. He is Egypt’s star man so they understandably want him as a focal point, just like Argentina with Lionel Messi, but a reshuffle may be needed to get him firing. That said, if Salah and Egypt’s struggles continue this week, he will be back in a red shirt before we know it.

 

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