Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is “suffering” from being part of an unsettled front three this season, says manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Egypt striker has seven goals in 19 Premier League games this season having scored 23 om 2021-22.
He has played in three different front lines in his past three matches.
“Of course he is suffering,” said Klopp. “It is specific, offensive play that requires a lot of work and a lot of information.”
The front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane had become synonymous with Liverpool’s aggressive style of play and brought a Champions League and a Premier League title.
“It was a well-drilled machine the front three, everything was clear what we were doing,” said Klopp.
“You create a feeling about a lot of these things, about where your team–mate is and where to pass the ball without looking.”
But, since Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich last summer, Salah, 30, has played alongside variations of Firmino, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Harvey Elliot, Fabio Carvalho, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and struggled to make connections.
Klopp’s preferred starting trio of Salah, Nunez and Diaz have been on the pitch for just 343 minutes together this season.
Summer arrival Nunez and January signing Gakpo are still settling into the side, with the former scoring five goals in 14 Premier League games, and Klopp said they will have significant roles to play.
“Now we have Cody as a really important asset, like a connector, he can play the wing and the centre as well,” said the German.
“When Darwin is playing there he is obviously more high up, going in behind. We never played with a nine before, even when Sadio [Mane] played in the position he was dropping in moments.
“It is all good if they would all be in and we could build something, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”
However, Firmino and Jota are getting closer to returns from injury and Klopp said that will give his side “more options” to “mix it up”.
But, with his side ninth in the Premier League and having managed just seven points from their past five games, Klopp said his problems are bigger than just the front three.
“If you had scored hundreds of goals in the past and now you are not scoring then that is the first thing you would think about but that is not our problem at the moment,” he said.
“But usually you have a real basis to build on and that is what we don’t have. The problem is you need time and nobody wants to invest time.
“I wish everything would be easier again and that already we had qualified for finals at the end of the season.
“This situation is not perfect but the basis of the last two games is something I like.”