MO SALAH’S future was unlikely to have come up when Jurgen Klopp sat at the kitchen table with wife Ulla.
Although it was a chat over a coffee that led to the German boss signing a new contract for the next four years.
Mo Salah is in the final year of his Liverpool contract and may follow Sadio Mane out the exit doorCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Mane joined Bayern Munich in a £35m transferCredit: Getty
Jurgen Klopp is the man to rebuild Liverpool once againCredit: Alamy
She simply said to him: “I can’t see us leaving in 2024.”
From that point, Klopp was clear in his own mind about staying and by the end of April the deal was done, even though just a month earlier he had reiterated his plan to leave.
After penning his new deal until 2026, Klopp said: “As a good husband, what are you doing when your wife wants to stay?
“You stay. That’s not the only reason — but it’s one of the reasons.”
As is now emerging, one of those reasons is how he will approach the next phase of his reign that began almost seven years ago.
Mane, of course, is now a Bayern Munich player having been sold for £35million this week.
The Senegalese star had just a year left on his contract.
Salah, who also has 12 months left and is refusing to back down on his demands of £400,000 a week to re-commit, could well be next.
One of the reasons that Klopp signed on again was that he saw the scenario coming.
For months, 30-year-old striker Mane had indicated that he wanted out of Anfield.
Salah, meanwhile, says he is not asking for “crazy” money but owners Fenway Sports Group know they would have to shatter their wage structure at a stroke.
Having boasted the most exciting forward line in club football as they tried and failed to deliver last season’s Quadruple, Klopp is faced with the prospect of guiding a whole new one into the upcoming campaign.
As SunSport reveals today, there are growing indications that — while they would hate to see Salah go, as was the case with Mane — the Anfield hierarchy are preparing themselves for his departure anyway.
And possibly sooner rather than later.
Darwin Nunez, signed for an initial £64m in a deal that could rise to a club-record £85.3m with add-ons, is also now in the building as is Luis Diaz — purchased in January in a transfer worth £49m. Diogo Jota was already there.
Yet the most important signing of the lot is surely Klopp himself.
Having built one team, and especially collected the forwards who ended 30 years of title hurt and won the 2019 Champions League plus two other final appearances, he must do so again.
Klopp was the most important Liverpool signingCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
This time, too, it is liable to be easier because the man-power is already in place.
It took vision, foresight and a brilliant recruitment policy to get in Salah and Mane to play alongside Roberto Firmino.
But for the plan to work as spectacularly well as it did as the Kop’s Fab Three scored 338 goals between them over five years, it also took great coaching.
Klopp, alongside his No 2 Pep Lijnders, provided that over the five years the trio played together.
It began with the German’s heavy- metal ‘gegenpressing’ tactics but the plan was tweaked as Mane and Salah, especially, developed in status.
Then it got more subtle as full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were allowed to add their attacking prowess.
Klopp orchestrated more fluid rhythms and an understanding that his initial tactical ethos would run his front men into the ground.
Salah and Mane each played no less than 60 times last season, including their Africa Cup of Nations duties that climaxed in Senegal beating Egypt in the final.
By next summer, if not by the end of this one, Klopp will be stringing together a whole new leading line.
Jota, two years on from his £45m arrival from Wolves, has settled well.
Darwin Nunez became Liverpool’s all-time record signingCredit: Getty
Diaz looked like he had found his true home from the very start.
Nunez, who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, is two years younger than the other two.
He may take more time to bed in as he remains relatively inexperienced, having had only two years of high- level game time at Benfica.
Yet the Uruguayan offers a new option to Klopp because of his aerial power.
The change in how Liverpool go about scoring will be fascinating to see as Klopp builds again.
And he has proved there is no better man to take up that challenge.
Ulla Klopp will have been party to what her husband knew was coming up in their quiet talks.
And at one big breakfast she fed him the thought that led to a longer stay on Merseyside than the pair had first anticipated.
Liverpool could so easily have been looking at not only the departures of Mane, Salah and Firmino, also with one year left on his deal.
Klopp’s exit would have been next on the agenda — and there would have been fears that it might all start falling apart at Anfield.
Instead there will be a sense of a whole new beginning, once Klopp starts gathering his squad together come Monday and the beginning of pre-season training.
FSG can thank Frau Klopp for that.
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