Andy Robertson expects Mohamed Salah to stay at Liverpool despite Saudi interest
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson insists the players have no concerns about “ultimate professional” Mohamed Salah’s immediate future as speculation of a potential world-record bid from Saudi Arabia continues.
Pro League champions Al-Ittihad last week had a £150million offer rejected by Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon, who now considers the matter closed.
However, that has not done anything to prevent suggestions they could return with a bid around the £200m mark for the 31-year-old, who is the world’s highest-profile Arab player.
Manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated the club’s stance after the 3-0 win over Aston Villa, in which Salah scored and had a hand in the other two goals, and Robertson said the squad were united in their belief there would be no departure before Thursday’s closure of the Saudi transfer window.
“For us we block that out, Mo blocks it out. We let other people talk about that,” he said.
“For us there is no concern. For us Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player and we believe that is what is going to be the case for the foreseeable future.
“He’s the ultimate professional. He does what it does, he is one of the best players in the world and he is professional.
“He lets other people do the talking, let’s other people say what they have to say, but he’s always been committed to Liverpool and you saw that with the performance he put in.
“The club’s position was that it knocked it back, it rejected the bid and that is what the stance was.
“For me Mo has been Mo all week. He’s not been affected; I’ve been around him a lot and he’s not been affected by anything.
“Mo has reacted in the best way possible and I think you have seen that with his performance, I think he was pretty special.”
At every media appearance over the last two weeks Klopp and the players have had to deal with questions about the future of Salah, who has two years left on a contract signed last summer which made him the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
But Robertson said it had not been destabilising or affected the squad’s focus as they made it 10 points from a possible 12 to head into the international break in third place in the Premier League.
“Look, there is speculation around a lot of players and it is how we deal with it and he (Salah) has obviously done well,” he added.
“Our squad is what it is and that’s the squad that is going to go forward now with the window shut.
“It is about getting the most out of the squad, it is about looking forward to the season ahead and trying to do better than what we did last season.”
After some criticism over recruitment following the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, coincidentally to Saudi Pro League clubs, Liverpool’s squad looks refreshed and re-energised.
World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, both signed before the start of pre-season, are starting to look like the long-term future of midfield they were brought in to be, with the latter scoring his first goal for the club against Villa in an impressive all-round performance in a comfortable victory.
“I thought it was probably our best performance of the season so far, which is pleasing,” said Robertson.
“I thought they (the midfield) were excellent, but to be honest I thought every player was excellent – even the subs who came on – it was a complete squad performance.”
On Szoboszlai’s goal, a sweetly-struck shot from the edge of the penalty area for which he built a reputation at previous club RB Leipzig, the Scotland captain added: “We’ve maybe not seen as much of it in games as we have seen in training but he’s got a pretty nice strike on him, that’s for sure.
“Technically he is a very gifted player, we’ve seen that already and I think he’ll have a big career here and we are looking forward to being a part of it.”
Liverpool’s fourth midfield recruit Ryan Gravenberch – signed on deadline day – has elected not to join up with Netherlands Under-21s as he concentrates on settling in on Merseyside.
“Ryan Gravenberch will not travel to Zeist this international match to join the Dutch Juniors,” said a statement from the Dutch Football Association.
“The Liverpool FC midfielder has indicated to KNVB coach Michael Reiziger that he wants to focus on his new club during the international match in September and will therefore not make himself available.”