Jamie Carragher has backed Liverpool’s decision to hand Mo Salah a record-breaking new contract, despite eyebrows being raised over the 30-year-old’s eye-watering salary.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Carragher revealed his belief that Salah “can be like Ronaldo” in terms of longevity.
The former Liverpool centre-back deems the way “Salah leads his life” as enough evidence to suggest “you will see no sort of drop off in terms of his numbers.”
The Egyptian’s remarkable record at Liverpool surpassed all expectations fans initially had for him when he returned to the Premier League in 2017.
He has scored 155 Liverpool goals in 248 appearances across all competitions, and thus Carragher’s assertion that Salah deserves his new contract is hard to contend.
However, a footballer’s decline in performance levels is something which is very difficult to predict.
Granted, he’s never scored less than 19 goals in a single season in England since joining Liverpool, but performing at such a high standard for a lengthy period does eventually begin to take its toll.
If you want to learn of the risks of signing an ageing player on to a mega new deal, just ask an Arsenal fan.
The Gunners extended Mesut Özil’s contract in February 2018, making him one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League, and his performance was never quite the same thereafter.
History repeated itself 18 months later when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was handed a similar extension.
He went from 22 goals in the 2019/20 season to 10 in the following campaign.
Handing big contracts to players who are the wrong side of 30 is and always will be a risky game.
Salah even showed signs of decline in his performance towards the end of last season, but Liverpool clearly feel he’s got enough left in the tank to revive his breath-taking form next term.
Carragher is right though, Salah is “already a Liverpool legend,” and few will bet against him scoring at least 20 goals on Merseyside again next season.
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