Could it be time for Liverpool to cash in on Mo Salah?
"With Salah, ah, Mane, Mane... and Bobby Firmino."
Back in February 2018, as Mo Salah was well on his way to racking up 44 goals in his first season with Liverpool, an altogether catchy song emerged from an Irish fan that took hold at Anfield and beyond.
Sang to the tune of 'Sugar, Sugar' by The Archies, "We've Got Salah" lauded the new front three assembled by Jürgen Klopp was a massive hit among the Reds faithful. To date, it has over 15 million views on YouTube and millions more across other platforms.
Firmino was the first to arrive, in 2015, with Mané signing from Southampton a season later. Liverpool paid AS Roma £37m for Salah, who had experienced an unfulfilling Premier League stint with Chelsea, and the final piece of the attacking puzzle was found.
Klopp's side only finished fourth in the league but reached the final of the Champions League and, with Salah not making it to half-time after injuring his shoulder, lost to Real Madrid. Real progress was being made by the Merseysiders and the front three had combined for 91 goals over the course of the season.
"We've Got Salah", the song by Kevin Murphy (portrayed by real-life Liverpool fan Richy Sheehy) summed up the new sense of optimism around the club. Phillippe Coutinho may have departed to Barcelona, for a shed-load of cash, but Klopp and the Liverpool transfer committee were putting the money to good use.
Virgil Van Dijk had arrived in early 2018 and he was joined by Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alisson Becker. The front three remained the same go-to men and though the goal return rate dropped (to 69), Liverpool had more goal-scoring threats emerge and they pushed Manchester City until the final day of the league season. In Madrid, they defeated Tottenham to win the club's sixth European Cup.
As heady as that achievement was, Liverpool were focused squarely on ending their league-title drought. That was the drive and the obsession from all involved at Anfield and they tore into the 2019/20 season, winning 26 of their first 27 games.
The lack of crowds, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that Liverpool could not keep up their full-on title pelt - losing three and drawing two in their next nine games - meant the celebrations were more subdued that they definitely would have been. Regardless, the long wait for league success was over and Liverpool looked to have the squad to catch United, on 20 titles, in 2021.
Notably, the goal return from Mo Salah (23), Sadio Mané (22) and Roberto Firmino (12) were down to a total of 57. Salah and Mané had some niggle over not passing to each other and Firmino had a long goal-less run at Anfield, but Liverpool looked mighty as a whole.
This season saw Diogo Jota arrive to ease some of the creative and goalscoring burden but his injury, picked up on duty in Europe, and the fact that Takumi Minamino has only been given two starts in the league have increased the burden on that main trident. Salah is holding up his end of the bargain, with 17 goals so far, but Mané (9) and Firmino (5) have only managed 14 between them. Liverpool are winless in four league games and have not scored a league goal so far this year.
Against Manchester United, during their 0-0 draw on Sunday, all three of Liverpool's main attackers were not close to their best. Firmino had the best sighters of goal but David De Gea was not unduly troubled, even if the hosts dominated the ball for long stretches.
Klopp is stressing that this is only an issue until it suddenly is not again - and the floodgates could open against Burnley, on Thursday - but there is certainly cause for concern. Added to trepidation among the Liverpool faithful are constant reports of both Barcelona and Real Madrid wanting Salah in La Liga.
For Sheehy, who penned that infectious Salah song, the issue needs to be addressed by Liverpool, and he feels the club may not be past the idea of cashing out on the Egyptian.
"[Against United], Salah was a big let-down from a Liverpool side," says Sheehy. "He might want out, and I know that Egyptian media and they love the stories of Salah flirting with Real and Barcelona. Maybe those two clubs are the bigger deals in Egypt and he may not be happy until he finally moves."
"Transfer values have gone crazy," he adds, "and they just get crazier and crazier, so you never know what wild figures would come out, but it would have to be more than £200 million. I obviously don't know want Salah to go, but you never know at this point."
Perhaps that £200m package would include four years' worth of wages [with both sides having an additional year extension option] but former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher reckons any fee Liverpool could get for the 28-year-old would be over, but closer to, the £100m mark.
"You are talking in excess of £100m," he told The Mirror, "and I think Real Madrid and Barcelona would be looking at Mbappe or Haaland or even Mane ahead of Salah now because of his age."
In January 2018, Klopp and Liverpool took the hard decision to move fan-favourite Countinho on to Barcelona when they were offered £105m [plus another potential £37m in add-ons]. With that money, they recruited smartly and lined up the final pieces of a title-winning team.
Were there decent money on offer for Salah - and only Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City and (if Lionel Messi moves) Barcelona could make it happen - Klopp may not dismiss it out of hand.