Liverpool have signed Mohamed Salah, and – fittingly, given that he is a winger – he will wear number 11.
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 23, 2017
This development has had a knock-on effect though, as Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino has worn 11 for Liverpool since joining at the beginning of 2015-16.
Having been used a lot by Jurgen Klopp as the focal point of the Reds’ attack last season, the Brazilian will now wear 9 instead – replicating the number switch made by Robbie Fowler in the summer of 2006, as Djibril Cissé had 9 when he rejoined during 2005-06.
For Salah, it’s something of a karmic payback in terms of squad numbers – something we looked at in our very first post.
When Didier Drogba rejoined Chelsea in 2014, his favoured 11 was held by Oscar, so he chose 15 – the number he wore in his first two seasons at the club. Salah had had 15 since his transfer from Basel the previous January, but he agreed to (or was told he had to) switch to 17.
Shortly before the start of the season though, it was announced that Oscar would be moving to the number 8 vacated by Lampard, allowing Drogba to have 11. Salah was forgotten in all of this and wore 17 for the first half of the season, with 15 empty. He didn’t kick up a stink, and he is rewarded now.
He joined Fiorentina on loan in January 2015, and opted for 74 there – not because seven and four add up to 11, but in honour of the 74 victims of the Port Said tragedy.
After he moved to Roma, he was given number 11 and that’s what he will keep. Though, of course, it should really be worn by a central midfielder at Liverpool…