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Mohamed Salah tests positive for COVID-19: 3 potential temporary solutions for Liverpool

Mohamed Salah has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19
Mohamed Salah has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 13 Nov 2020, 23:36 IST
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Liverpool star Mohamed Salah reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the Egyptian FA said in a statement.

In tests carried out on the entire Egypt squad, the FA initially said that Salah was the only one who tested positive for the infection. But in a source of confusion for the moment, that statement has now been deleted by the Egypt FA from all their social media channels.

In any case, it is likely that Salah will now undergo a second COVID-19 test, to confirm the first positive test.

If Salah does test positive a second time, it will be another huge blow for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, who are dealing with the loss of Joe Gomez to a knee injury, while he was on England duty.

Virgil van Dijk is ruled out as wel, while Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss the next four weeks with a calf injury.

Liverpool do have some options in their squad to replace Salah for the couple of games he is likely to miss, if he goes into self-isolation after a second positive test.

If that is the case, Salah is likely to miss a couple of games - against Leicester City in the Premier League and Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League.

Here are three players who Liverpool can use to fill the gap that may be left in their squad by Salah's absence.


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Options for Liverpool to replace Mohamed Salah

#1 Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota scored a hat-trick in the Champioins League against Atalanta
Diogo Jota scored a hat-trick in the Champioins League against Atalanta

The prime candidate to replace Salah in this Liverpool line-up is obviously Diogo Jota. The Portuguese has had a sensational impact since his summer transfer from Wolves.

In the last couple of weeks before the international break, Jota really shot into prominence for Klopp, scoring six goals in four games, including a couple of decisive Premier League goals against Sheffield United and West Ham United.

Jota also scored a hat-trick against Atalanta in Bergamo in the Champions League.

The biggest positive for Klopp with Jota's inclusion would be the Portuguese's versatility. That would mean he can switch roles with the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and make it a fluid front three for Liverpool.


#2 Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri has forced his way back into Jurgen Klopp
Xherdan Shaqiri has forced his way back into Jurgen Klopp's plans
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In the last couple of weeks, the Swiss international has fought his way back into Klopp's plans after looking certain to leave the club in the summer.

Shaqiri has been able to play both in midfield, and as a right-winger in recent weeks, so that is more of the positional versatility that Klopp enjoys employing in his teams.

Shaqiri has popped up with crucial contributions in recent games, playing pivotal roles in vital goals against Midtjylland and West Ham United.

One obvious difference between Shaqiri and Salah when they play on the right flank would stem from the lack of pace. That is where Liverpool will have to slightly alter the way they play, and maybe make Sadio Mane the focal point of their attack on the opposite flank. That, in turn, would open up more space for Shaqiri and the likes on the right.


#3 Takumi Minamino

Takumi Minamino has not set the stage alight in the chances he has been given
Takumi Minamino has not set the stage alight in the chances he has been given

The most unlikely option for Klopp to replace Salah would be giving more game-time to Takumi Minamino. The Japanese has struggled in recent games for Liverpool, and hasn't really nailed down a spot in Klopp's side.

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The German has mostly employed him as the most advanced of the three attackers, which may not suit his game. Klopp has been willing to change his system in recent weeks, with more of a 4-2-3-1 system being employed.

Minamino being used in the no.10 role in a 4-2-3-1 could bring the best out of him and Roberto Firmino as well.

Published 13 Nov 2020, 23:36 IST
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