SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk hands the captain's armband to Mohamed Salah during the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We’re all human” – Virgil van Dijk not surprised if contract talk affected Salah

Mohamed Salah‘s future is now committed to Liverpool after signing a deal until 2025 earlier this summer, but the furore throughout the campaign left plenty for the winger to navigate.

There were months of debate regarding Salah’s future last season and the sense was that it would continue into 2022/23 with talks having seemingly reached an impasse.

From cryptic tweets from Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, to the No. 11’s interviews with the Spanish press and statements of “not asking for crazy stuff,” it took up plenty of headlines.

Thankfully, it was all put to rest at the start of July as Salah penned a new three-year contract to make him the club’s highest-paid player in history.

The talk and rumours were swiftly silenced but that does not mean it did not take its toll, with Virgil van Dijk quick to say players are still “human beings” at the end of the day.

“At the end of the season, from maybe April until the end, there was a lot of talk about (his) contract and stuff,” Van Dijk said of Salah to The Telegraph.

“We’re all human beings and maybe that affected him a little bit, unfortunately.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 7, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“But he still showed high levels and quality and he played with a free mind and obviously he’s happy to be here and I think everyone is happy to be here.

“He showed it already for the last three years. He’s under the microscope all of the time.

“He created that himself, he’s such a good player, but he shows that consistently all the time in my opinion.”

There was a dip from Salah but he has been consistently operating at a world-class level for a number of years and across 2021/22 was tasked with playing an exhausting 5,455 minutes for club and country.

The Egyptian ended last season with his joint-second most goals in a single campaign for the club (31), and if the contract talks did weigh on his mind, you can only imagine what he can conjure up this season.