Right now, Mohamed Salah is still Liverpool’s most influential player. Relatively quiet by his own high standards in the 4-3 win over Fulham, his assist nonetheless kept up a rate of a goal involvement per game in all competitions this season.

But the star of the show on a cold afternoon at Anfield was undoubtedly Trent Alexander-Arnold. While his peach of a free-kick ultimately went down as a Bernd Leno own goal, he made sure he ended up on the scoresheet, eventually sealing the victory for Liverpool in dramatic fashion.

Regardless of where he plays on the pitch, Alexander-Arnold finds ways of affecting the game. He has always been a menace from dead ball situations, while his recent goal against Manchester City was a product of his now ‘normal’ inverted right-back positioning. But talk of a permanent move into the Liverpool midfield has ramped up over the last few weeks.

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That’s partly because Jürgen Klopp has gradually become more and more receptive to the idea. He has been asking Alexander-Arnold to drift inside for at least a couple of years now, but the decision to properly invert him amid last season’s struggles could go down as a turning point. Most recently, in each of the last two games, Liverpool’s vice-captain has ended up as a bona fide midfielder.

In the Europa League against LASK, that was facilitated by the late introduction of Conor Bradley. Only given 10 minutes to make a mark in his new role, Alexander-Arnold assisted Cody Gakpo to round off the scoring.

There were much higher stakes in the Fulham game, and Klopp made the change earlier, this time introducing Joe Gomez and giving Alexander-Arnold 25 minutes to work his magic in the middle. That ultimately got the best pay-off imaginable.

Between Gomez and Bradley, Liverpool has more viable options than ever to fill any space vacated by Alexander-Arnold at right-back. But the sticking point is finding a space for him in midfield.

Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are all vying for the two ‘number eight’ roles where Alexander-Arnold is most able to shine. Meanwhile, Alexis Mac Allister’s stunning strike against Fulham will have been a reminder to Klopp that his current number six is mostly being asked to play somewhat within himself.

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

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But the one place in the Liverpool team where Klopp lacks quality cover is Salah’s role. There are high hopes for Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon, but neither will be ready to take over directly from the Egyptian, especially if Saudi interest turns his head within the next year or two.

The solution is for Klopp to have a bit of a reshuffle. From absolutely nowhere, he now has a surfeit of quality in the advanced midfield roles — but at least two of his options in those positions are also very capable Salah heirs.

Most obviously, Elliott could be requisitioned as a right-winger. He has played there before, making his name in that role at Fulham, and Klopp has occasionally deployed him in place of Salah at points in games this season.

But there’s also Szoboszlai. Coming from Leipzig as a kind of narrow winger, not too far off the role Salah plays, it’s incredible how quickly he has settled into the number eight role. But while he has looked world-class there, his track record shows that he can use his qualities just as well from a slightly different base, and moving him over once the Egyptian moves on could have a positive ripple effect.

Alexander-Arnold would certainly feel it, with a space opening up in the Liverpool midfield. This could be the key to the timeline of his long-awaited move into the center.

Klopp once said he could not understand why anyone would move the best right-back in the world. Now, the answer is clear: he’s also among the best midfielders in the world. His recent performances are leaving Liverpool with little choice — a move simply has to happen somewhere down the line, and sourcing a Salah heir from within the existing midfield ranks could align the stars at last.