Mohamed Salah is already a Liverpool legend and the Reds must tie the forward down to a new contract whatever the cost, according to Jamie Carragher.
Salah recently became the fastest Liverpool player to 100 top-flight goals, achieving the feat in 151 matches – one game fewer than the late, great Roger Hunt took to reach the landmark.
The Egypt forward also became the 30th different Premier League player to hit a century of goals since the competition began in 1992 as he poked in against Leeds United on September 12.
However, the 29-year-old’s future remains in doubt, with his current contract due to expire in 2023 and no signs suggesting a new deal is imminently forthcoming.
Former Reds centre-back Carragher, who made more than 700 appearances for Liverpool, explained in the Telegraph how the situation with Salah needs to be resolved quickly.
“The heartfelt tributes to Roger Hunt following his passing are a reminder that the best footballers are often most appreciated long after they stop playing,” Carragher wrote.
“Jurgen Klopp said recently you cannot be called a legend until after retirement. There is a tendency to hesitate before recognising true greatness when it is in front of us, and the bittersweet reality is that sometimes only in death is a player’s legacy fully acknowledged.
“Occasionally, we must take more pleasure from those in the modern era who are so freakishly good, they deserve to be spoken about as reverentially as the greats of the past.
“Mohamed Salah is such a footballer.
“There is no sign that [a new contract] is imminent. Worryingly, it is possible Salah will leave on a Bosman free transfer.
“It would be a serious mistake to let the situation drag on that far.
“I understand it is not as straightforward as saying ‘just give the player what he wants’ without thoroughly considering the financial consequences. The cash has to come from somewhere.
“It is well documented how Liverpool run their business, and they do not want to set precedents that will cause long-term financial damage by agreeing wages in excess of £400,000-a-week.
“My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception.”
Indeed, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alisson, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk have all secured new long-term deals at Anfield.
But Salah remains in wait to seal a new contract with Jurgen Klopp’s side and Carragher, who believes the former Roma and Chelsea forward has already achieved legendary status, implored Liverpool to complete negotiations.
“Klopp vowed captain Jordan Henderson’s deal would ‘get sorted’ after a brief stalemate and it immediately was, yet says he is ‘not involved’ with Salah’s negotiations,” he continued.
“That seems odd. If there is a sound reason for not resolving the Salah contract situation with the same urgency, it is yet to be satisfactorily explained.
“Whenever we talk about Liverpool’s renaissance, we often focus on the influence of Van Dijk and Alisson, taking the team to another level.
“That’s fair, but we should not forget that the foundations were in place because of the immediate impact of Salah, who was already on his way to scoring 44 goals in his first season when Van Dijk signed.
“Twenty-five years from now, fans will examine this era and consider how lucky they were to witness Salah’s goal feats. They will rewatch the videos and see his statistics with a sense of awe.
“I hope they will not look back and ask this: Why on earth did he leave before he had a chance to beat Roger Hunt’s record?”
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