Tuesday 15 October 2019

John Aldridge gives his verdict on Mohamed Salah as he labels Chelsea a 'one man team'

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is substituted and shakes hands with manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is substituted and shakes hands with manager Jurgen Klopp
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge has backed Jurgen Klopp's decision too substitute Mohamed Salah when his side were 1-0 behind against Chelsea on Saturday.

Salah was struggling to make an impact on the game at Stamford Bridge and Klopp's bold substitution nearly reaped instant dividends as his replacement Xherdan Shaqiri missed a glorious chance to equalise.

A late Daniel Sturridge goal eventually earned Liverpool a deserved 1-1 draw, with Sunday World columnist Aldridge backing Klopp in his decision to replace Salah.

"Removing Salah with the Liverpool trailing in a game would have been unheard of last season, but the Egyptian did not look himself at Chelsea and it continues a theme we have seen for most of this season," states Aldridge.

"Salah suffered a very difficult end to last season as he was man-handled out of the Champions League final by Sergio Ramos and then tried to play while injured at the World Cup and he has come back from those two deflating experiences looking flat.

"Harry Kane has not been at his best at times after an exhausting summer with England and few players who didn't have much of a break are also suffering in the first few weeks of this season, so we need to be patient with Salah now.

"The guy is a class act and I have no doubt that we will see the best of him again very soon, but all players go through dips in form and that is where Liverpool's star man is right now.

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"We all questioned whether Salah could match his incredible performances that saw him go through the 40-goal barrier last term and I always said that was unlikely, but we haven't seen anything like the best from him yet.

"It was a big call for Klopp to take him off at Stamford Bridge, but he was not anywhere near his best in that game and I back the manager in that decision."

Aldridge went on to suggest Chelsea are a 'one man team' relying too heavily on star man Eden Hazard, as he predicted a two-team title race will unfold between Liverpool and Manchester City.

"If Hazard stays fit throughout this season and continues to perform as he is, maybe Chelsea can get in the mix to challenge for the title, but I look at David Luiz at the back and he will give you a chance and they don't have a top class striker to share the goal burden with Hazard," he adds.

"Van Dijk handled Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata comfortable on Saturday and there will be times when Hazard doesn't fire and that is where Chelsea will slip-up.

"They have some good players, but they essentially look like a one-man team to me and that's why I believe the two teams who will go into battle at Anfield next Sunday will contest the title come May.

"Manchester City were hammered by Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals last season and well beaten in the Premier League when they came to Anfield last January, so those mental scars will still be there.

"Liverpool need to come through their mid-week trip to Napoli in the Champions League without injuries to key players and then hope Salah and Mane find their shooting boots for the Man City game next Sunday."

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