Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been benched by Liverpool for their trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon after sending shockwaves around the club after refusing to rule out moves to Real Madrid or Barcelona in the future.
The 28-year-old Egyptian has become a star at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp since joining from Roma in 2017, scoring 108 goals in 172 appearances for the club on his way to claiming the Champions League and Premier League titles.
Those achievements have seen him linked with the Spanish giants, but asked by Spanish outlet AS if he would rule out a move to LaLiga in the future, the former Chelsea forward failed to do so.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona
The 28-year-old Egyptian has become a star at Anfield under German boss Jurgen Klopp
‘I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs,’ he said.
‘Who knows what will happen in the future, but right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again.’
When pressed on his future further, Salah insisted everything was in Liverpool’s hands, adding: ‘That’s a tough question, but right now I can say that everything is in the hands of the club.
‘Of course I want to break records here and, I repeat, all the club records, but everything is in the hands of the club.’
Salah has drawn the interest of Real Madrid and Barcelona and has failed to rule out a move
The Egypt international has had to make do with a starting spot on the bench at Selhurst Park but Klopp insisted before the game that he was only resting his key forward.
‘Yeah we want to have the opportunity to change’, he told BT Sport. ‘Mo played the last four games so it was clear that we tried to change today a little bit.
‘Mo can come in and make the difference, that’s the plan. Naby trained well and Curtis Jones played a lot as well. We wanted as many fresh legs as possible without losing structure and rhythm.’
Salah was introduced as a second half substitute while Liverpool were 4-0 up at Crystal Palace
The Egyptian immediately showed his Reds commitment with two late goals in a 7-0 win
Just short of the hour mark, Salah was introduced at Selhurst Park in place of Sadio Mane, who looked furious at being withdrawn. The Reds were already 4-0 up at that stage following first-half goals from Takumi Minamino, Mane and Roberto Firmino while Jordan Henderson added another at the start of the second half.
Salah wasted no time in showing his commitment to the Reds, netting twice late on after Firmino grabbed his own brace, as Klopp side’s fired seven goals past the hapless Eagles.
Salah also admitted he was hugely disappointed not to be handed the captain’s armband for the club’s final Champions League group match against Midtjylland earlier this month.
Salah also revealed he was disappointed not to have captained the side against Midtjylland
Salah scored the opening goal in Denmark but Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) was captain
Klopp put out a rather inexperienced side in the 1-1 draw in Denmark with the Reds already having qualified for the last-16 of the competition, but Salah was one of the few regulars who did figure from the start.
The Egyptian opened the scoring in the first minute but did so in a side led by 22-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold, a decision Salah admitted he was frustrated with but one he must now accept.
‘Honestly, I was very disappointed,’ he added.
‘I was hoping to be the captain, but it’s a coach’s decision. I accept it.’
Salah has scored a joint-highest 11 Premier League goals for the current top-flight champions in 2020-21, and 14 across all competitions.
Those current statistics come after Salah – who signed a heavily-incentivised five-year extension with the Anfield side in July 2018 – finished fifth in the race for the Golden Boot last season in Liverpool’s victorious league campaign with 19 goals.
Salah scored against Tottenham in their win over Jose Mourinho’s men, who sit second
He however did win the accolade in 2017-18 after scoring 32 top-flight goals and also shared the prize with team-mate Sadio Mane and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the following season, who all netted 22.
Meanwhile, this season Liverpool currently sit top of the table in their bid to secure consecutive Premier League titles.
Their lead over second place Tottenham currently stands at three points after 13 games after a 2-1 victory against Jose Mourinho’s men in midweek.
But Salah, whose side face Crystal Palace in Saturday’s 12:30pm kick-off, was keen to state there is too much of the season remaining to brand his team favourites for the crown again.
‘I think it is a bit early to say that [Liverpool are title favourites], but yes, we are doing well just like other teams. I hope we have the best chance of winning it.’
But Salah admitted it was too early to brand Liverpool favourites for the title once more