What Mohamed Salah did on 77 minutes has given Arne Slot an early headache at Liverpool

Anyone searching for just how troubling these times are for Liverpool just now found all the evidence they needed after 77 minutes here at the London Stadium.

The scene was Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp, the two people who have perhaps done more than any other pair to thrust greatness upon Liverpool in recent years, arguing on the sidelines as the opposition celebrated a goal.

Having risen to global stardom under the careful guidance of his world-class manager, it was a jarring image to see Salah so forcibly at loggerheads with Klopp and the situation was made even more surreal by the sight of famed firebrand Darwin Nunez acting as peacemaker.

With Klopp now into his final weeks ahead of Arne Slot’s appointment and a major question hanging over Salah’s next move, given he has close to just 12 months left on his contract, it was, sadly, a crystallising moment of how this is all coming to a close under the current boss.

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Having been unceremoniously dropped from the team after Wednesday's limp defeat at Everton, there could be no disguising Salah or Nunez's benching here as a resting. And while both players were being readied to try and seal a match-winning third, by the time they were eventually hurled into action, it was instead to restore a lead that proved beyond them.

The season-long problems that have blighted this team have still not been addressed. They routinely concede the first goal and are left in need of a stirring response but while they have now earned a league high 28 points from losing positions, no lessons have been learned. Once more they were asked to force a stoppage-time rescue act that never came close to being achieved.

A 2-2 draw was the sum of their efforts and they now look like a tired squad that are in desperate need of the season’s final whistle. This wasn’t how it was supposed to pan out and the Klopp era is limping to a sad end that is so out of sync with the joyous scenes it will eventually be remembered for.

In an otherwise uneventful first half, Liverpool actually started slightly brighter than their damaging habits suggested they might but were still unable to really create any gilt-edged chances after five changes were made with few complaints following Wednesday night’s Goodison nightmare.

But even against a side who were playing in the lower gears in a flat, Saturday lunchtime atmosphere, the Reds still gifted the first goal of the contest to their opponents once more.

Jarell Quansah's pass out into midfield was sloppy but it looked like the danger had been averted when Alisson Becker had denied Jarrod Bowen's deflected shot off Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool switched off from the resulting corner, however, and Bowen was able to notch and give the hosts a lead they scarcely deserved.

That's how it is these days against Klopp's men, teams aren't having to do anything out of the ordinary to score. Add that defensively frailty to a group of players who have been misfiring for weeks and it's a recipe for disaster.

Liverpool’s second-half goals were not indicative of turnaround in form in front of goal, either. Oddly, they only highlighted just how shot-shy the main men up top have been.

Andy Robertson’s weak effort should have been kept out by Alphonse Areola before Cody Gakpo’s miscued strike hit Angelo Ogbonna and then Tomas Soucek before being given as an own goal for the goalkeeper. Somehow, the Reds found themselves 2-1 up but their efforts at least deserved the advantage even if the manner of their goals were hardly suggesting a corner had been turned.

Areola continued to be worked, mainly through Diaz, who was one of three withdrawn after the pitch-side spat that has since been played down by Klopp and, if anything, talked up by Salah.

“There is going to be fire today if I speak," was Salah's response when asked to speak in the post-match mixed zone. It's more than the Egyptian has offered to reporters in years given his famed penchant of politely turning down those sorts of requests. Clearly something is playing on the No.11's mind. What happens with him this summer will be fascinating as Slot prepares to arrive.

Before all that, though, the Klopp era - a glittering, glorious time for so many - is winding down in the most peculiar fashion.