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Liverpool’s Salah is a match-winner and must start against Manchester City at Wembley - Murphy

09:38 BST 16/04/2022
The 45-year-old former England player maintains the 29-year-old Pharaoh must make the starting XI for Jurgen Klopp against the Citizens

Former Liverpool player Danny Murphy has revealed the reason Mohamed Salah must be in the team’s starting XI to face Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Egypt international has gone 753 minutes since he scored a goal from open play and against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday, he was rested (on the bench) before coming on in the second half.

According to the 45-year-old former England player, Murphy, who managed 170 appearances for the Anfield outfit and scored 25 goals between 1997 to 2004, Salah is a match-winner and must start against the Citizens.

“It is 753 minutes since Mohamed [Salah’s] last goal in open play for Liverpool but there is still absolutely no chance I would leave him out of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City,” Murphy wrote on BBC Sports.

“Ignoring penalties, Salah has not found the net with any of his past 38 efforts at goal over the past two months but he has to start at Wembley because he is a match-winner, and he has earned the right to play in big games like this one even if he is on a bad run.

“I agree that he hasn’t been playing as well as he can do, but let’s not forget that since the 29-year-old Egyptian joined Liverpool in 2017, he has set standards with his goalscoring numbers above anything we thought could be possible.

“We are judging him against his own ridiculous record and the fact his statistics over the past two months are more ordinary does not change the fact he is capable of scoring remarkable goals that no one else on the pitch can, whoever the opposition are.”

Murphy continued: “That in itself is enough of a reason to pick him, but on top of that you have to remember the effect his mere presence will have on City. Regardless of whether Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake, or Oleksandr Zinchenko play at left-back for City this weekend, they would fear Salah at all times.

“They all love to get forward themselves but they know that, when they do, they are leaving the Premier League's best goalscorer behind them. That is a very different dynamic to anyone else they could go up against in Liverpool's team.

“While Salah didn’t score at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, he still had a huge impact on the game, not least with his perfect pass for Sadio Mane to make it 2-2 at the start of the second half.

“I am expecting more of the same this time, and it would not surprise me at all if Salah actually scores the winner, because he has done it so many times before.”

The clubs will meet for the second time in the space of one week after their entertaining 2-2 Premier League draw at the Etihad Stadium.