Mohamed Salah’s ability to let Liverpool “forget about Philippe Coutinho” makes him as talismanic as Kenny Dalglish, according to Terry McDermott.
Fears were raised during the January transfer window when renewed interest from Barcelona led to a key creative talent heading for La Liga in a €160 million deal.
This is, however, not the first time that Anfield has bid farewell to a fan favourite, only to see another immediately step up to fill the void.
Back in the 1970s, Dalglish helped to cover the loss of Kevin Keegan and 40 years later, Salah has allowed those on the red half of Merseyside to continue dreaming on the back of another high-profile departure.
Reds legend McDermott, who won five league titles and three European Cups during his distinguished playing career, told the Daily Mirror of a new hero at Anfield: “Salah has made people forget about Philippe Coutinho and I honestly couldn’t see that ever happening.
“Coutinho was a great player and usually, when he played well, Liverpool would win. When he went, I thought he was going to be a massive loss.
“He creates just as many chances and I’m not having a go at Coutinho, because he is a fantastic player, but I have to say that Salah is unbelievable.
“I’ve never known someone in their first season at Anfield except for Kenny Dalglish to have made such an impact.
“We knew what Kenny had done for Celtic and Scotland, but it wasn’t until we saw him in training that we realised he was absolutely brilliant.
“He was beyond belief. We wondered: ‘What have we got here?’
“We didn’t think anyone could replace Kevin Keegan, who had left for Hamburg in the summer and had been worshipped by the Kop.
“It was a similar situation with Coutinho, but what Salah has done has made certain that the team hasn’t suffered.
“What a foursome that would have been. Keegan, Dalglish, Coutinho and Salah. I don’t think Liverpool would lose too many games!”
That return leaves him just 11 short of Ian Rush’s all-time record for a single campaign, with there still seven Premier League fixtures and at least two Champions League fixtures for him to take in.
His exploits have sparked talk of a possible move elsewhere after just 12 months at Anfield, with Real Madrid reported to be keen, but the 25-year-old has offered no indication that he is looking to follow Coutinho to Spain and create another void in Jurgen Klopp’s squad.