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Klopp on why Salah was dropped; Real Madrid, Barcelona transfer talk

Mohamed Salah curls a stunning finish into the top corner to bag a brace off the bench and tally Liverpool's seventh goal against Crystal Palace.

‘Mohamed Salah to Barcelona’ and ‘Mohamed Salah to Real Madrid’ will likely be trending for a while after these comments in the media from the Liverpool star.

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Okay, so he was left out of Liverpool’s starting lineup for the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace just after this story was published, but Jurgen Klopp said that was because he was rested.

Let’s not get too carried away here, but Salah did tell Spanish outlet AS that he was ‘very disappointed’ about not being given the captaincy recently and talked up Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Asked about that interview, Klopp responded that he had ‘nothing to say from my side about that, all fine,’ about Salah speaking to AS.

“It is the first time for a while we had the opportunity to do something like this. We played Sunday and Wednesday so we needed fresh legs today,” Klopp said. “Mo missed only seven minutes from the last four games. It is a massively intense period, so it was clear it would be him. Bringing him in for the last half an hour, I thought it was a good idea.”

Salah, 28, has been a star at Liverpool over the past four seasons but it seems like the winger has more than one eye on a move to Spain in the future. In the interview, the Egyptian winger didn’t exactly shut down talk of a transfer to La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona in the future.

“I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs,” Salah said. “Who knows what will happen in the future? But right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again.”

Salah also had this to say about Trent Alexander-Arnold being handed the captain’s armband against Midtjylland in the UEFA Champions League recently, with Jordan Henderson, James Mliner and Virgil van Dijk not playing.

“Honestly, I was very disappointed. I was expecting to be the captain. But it’s a manager’s decision, so I accept it,” Salah said.

Okay, what do we think about this?

It doesn’t seem like he is planning to leave Liverpool in January, and he still has a contract until the summer of 2023 at Anfield, but this seems like he is dangling a carrot out in front of Real Madrid and Barcelona and is letting everyone know he isn’t feeling the love.

With over three years to run on his current Liverpool deal, it would take a huge transfer fee to buy him in the summer, and perhaps this is more about Salah reminding Liverpool how important he is and, ‘oh, yeah, sure, I’ll sign that new four-year contract extension Mr. Henry.’

Why would Salah leave Liverpool?

Salah has won all he can at Liverpool and if Jurgen Klopp leaves in the summer of 2024, like he’s said he plans to, then there will be a lot more stories about Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and others lining up their next destination rather than stay at a post-Klopp Liverpool.

With Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliott and other youngsters lined up to replace Salah, Mane and Firmino, it will be intriguing to see ow Klopp freshens things up in the next few seasons.

Financially, unless they have a huge clear-out it is unlikely that Real Madrid and Barcelona will be able to afford Salah in the next 12 months.

Still, star athletes always like to freshen things up and have new challenges and experiences and Salah, along with most of his Liverpool teammates can simply say ‘completed it, mate’ when it comes to the Premier League and dominating English and European soccer with the Reds.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports