Mohamed Salah “can’t find a red jersey with a pass” at the moment, says Steve Nicol, with wayward shooting the only way the Liverpool forward can pick out a team-mate.
The Egypt international has endured a rare dip over recent weeks, netting just once in his last 10 appearances across all competitions.
Nicol is among those to have questioned the 26-year-old’s form and mindset, and continues to suggest that a man who netted 44 times last season is looking a little out of sorts.
The former Reds defender is, however, prepared to admit that an enigmatic talent has “enough in the bank” to ensure that he will remain integral to Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
Nicol told ESPN FC on the back of another goalless showing from Salah in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Porto in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final: “At the moment he can’t find a red jersey with a pass.
“And then when he has a shot, that’s the only time he’s finding a red jersey because he hit [Jordan] Henderson once and he hit [Roberto] Firmino straight in the back as well.
“But you know what, you can’t not play him. He showed us at the weekend [against Southampton] that when he has an opportunity and he gets everything right - he’s world class.
“Right now, that’s only coming in spurts. But he’s got enough in the bank that he deserves to play and he should continue to play.”
Salah was on target against the Saints, as Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win at St Mary’s.
The hope is that he will rediscover his spark on the back of that strike, with the Reds in need of inspiration across the field.
With another positive step having been taken in Europe, their attention is about to switch back to domestic matters.
Klopp’s side face another stern test of their title credentials on Sunday when they play host to Chelsea.
They will want to see Salah firing on all cylinders against his former club, with Liverpool having just five games remaining in their English top-flight campaign.