In Depth

Mohamed Salah: Key man or bit-part player for Liverpool?

Egyptian winger expected to sign this week - but his role at Anfield next season remains unclear

Roma winger Mohamed Salah is thought to have had a medical at Anfield ahead of joining Liverpool in a deal worth around £34m.

The player, who spent an unhappy 18 months on Chelsea's books prior to moving to Italy, flew into England on Tuesday and is expected to be unveiled as a Liverpool player before the weekend.

Details of his fee are yet to be revealed, but he could end up costing more than Sadio Mane and Andy Carroll and be Liverpool's most expensive signing.

However, it is not a title he should be allowed to have for long, says Paul Joyce of The Times.

"The one thing Salah must not end up being is the statement signing of this summer," he argues.

"Salah can be an eye-catching recruit, adding pace and dynamism, combining grit and guile and fuelling fierce competition for places. But this is the summer in which Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group… have let it be known that they will spend bigger than ever before.

"Salah represents a start, but that is all. For Liverpool, the hard work is still to come."

He also has plenty to prove. In 2014, the Reds lost out to Chelsea, who paid £12m for his services but were left unimpressed as he failed to make an impact in the Premier League.

Three years and £24m later, it could be a different story for the 25-year-old.

"Not so long ago, failing at Stamford Bridge and being dubbed a flop would have warded off potential suitors, but now it has become a badge of honour," says Ewan Roberts of Metro. "Kevin De Bruyne has emerged as one of Europe's leading playmakers since being offloaded, while Romelu Lukaku netted 87 goals in four years at Everton.

"Salah has, likewise, been electric in Italy since departing after making just 13 league appearances, but real vindication required a return to the Premier League stage."

Liverpool could be the ideal place to show off his abilities: "His move to Roma, and particularly his education under Luciano Spalletti, has turned Salah into exactly the type of player Liverpool need," says Roberts, who believes the Egyptian will link up with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in a dynamic front three playing ahead of Philippe Coutinho.

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