Mohamed Salah has been “struggling since Christmas”, says Steve Nicol, but the Liverpool forward has done enough during his time at Anfield to be given the chance to play his way back into form.
A stunning debut campaign on Merseyside for the Egyptian forward saw him land the Premier League Golden Boot and PFA Player of the Year award.
More of the same was expected this term, and the 26-year-old does have 20 goals to his name across all competitions.
Salah has, however, found the target just once in his last eight domestic and Champions League outings to see questions asked of his contribution.
Former Reds defender Nicol concedes that a talismanic presence has been short of his best but believes a spark will be found, telling ESPN FC: “Considering what he’s done the last 18 months, you have to let him ride this out.
“Strikers go through periods where they just can’t do anything right - that’s exactly what he’s going through now.
“Benching him isn’t going to make it any better, taking him off isn’t going to make it any better. He’s earned the right to have the time to sort this out.
“This is the business time of the season so it needs to be sorted out pretty quickly.
“I know he scored in February but, for me, since Christmas, he’s been struggling.
“The worst thing is his touch, his touch has deserted him.
“When your touch goes, it starts biting into your confidence as well. For me, really since Christmas, he has been struggling.
“Fortunately for Liverpool particularly [Sadio] Mane has been the man who has been finding the back of the net.
“Nice to see [Roberto] Firmino getting a couple of goals [against Burnley], that should get him kick-started again.”
Mane and Firmino bagged a brace apiece in Liverpool’s latest outing, as they kept their title bid on track with a 4-2 victory at Anfield.
Salah may not have found the target in that contest, but he was as lively as ever and earned praise from manager Jurgen Klopp on the back of another impressive showing that was only missing end product.
The German said: “You make a big fuss if we score five, then we are the best attacking side in the world, and we score nil and then we have an offensive problem.
“Mo Salah for me was the best player on the pitch and he didn't score. I am not sure you will see that in a lot of ratings, because he's a striker and he didn't score, but we have no problem with confidence. We are in a good moment.”