Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

Mohamed Salah and Liverpool teammates go off-grid in Dubai

There has been very little trace that they have been in the UAE this week

Liverpool have been training in Dubai but have been keeping quiet.  Action Images via Reuters
Liverpool have been training in Dubai but have been keeping quiet.  Action Images via Reuters

Premier League leaders Liverpool have been in Dubai this week - didn't you know?

Probably not, unless you're a die-hard Reds fan.

Jurgen Klopp's squad flew in for some warm weather training as they are without a fixture until January 30. This weekend is the fourth round of the FA Cup and Liverpool lost in the third round to Wolves.

But in this era of scant privacy due to social media, the club have somehow managed to go under the radar in the UAE, with practically no trace that they are actually here.

The players' social media accounts are devoid of images of selfies on the flight over (unlike Real Madrid who made the most of their sponsored Emirates A380 flight for the Fifa Club World Cup), no posing by the pool and not even confirmation of a winning hand at Uno. In fact, there is no official reference whatsoever.

The only way a Liverpool player has made news via his social media postings this week has been Mohamed Salah exiting Twitter and Instagram altogether, leaving his millions of followers wondering what's up.

The club's official website has no pitch-side interviews with Klopp at the Nad Al Sheba training complex in Dubai where the players were put through their paces. No clips of the players smiling while they took part in a competitive rondo (keep-ball) session under the warm sunshine, and certainly no video footage of some of the world's best footballers showing off their skills away from the pressure cooker of the Premier League.

The only leak has been this footage of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is working his way back to full fitness after a long spell out injured.

Now, let's contrast this with Manchester United.

They were also in Dubai recently for a warm weather training camp and certainly let everyone know about it.

New manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talked up the trip in the preceding week, explaining why they were coming.

There were pictures of the squad travelling from the UK to the UAE, social media posts of the likes of David de Gea and Juan Mata playing table tennis and even Romelu Lukaku dining at Salt Bae's restaurant.

Then there was Jessie Lingard and Marcus Rashford telling the world that they had been to Dubai Mall and had taken a stroll along the beach.

On the official side, the club regularly documented its training sessions, gave injury updates, revealed which players were on the trip and who needed to stay back in Manchester for treatment.

It even found time for some light hearted humour - and a rare interview with Paul Pogba.

Put into context, it was a charm offensive by a club which had been wallowing under a dark cloud for many months. Results were not good enough, Jose Mourinho needing sacking and some of the players had given off the air that they would rather be playing somewhere else.

This was a new United, all pulling together under the new manager. And while the club was keen to show that the players were working hard in Dubai, it also made sure they were seen to be together as a unit that was moving in the right direction.

Liverpool meanwhile find themselves in an unfamiliar position - top of the Premier League table. The Merseysiders have not won the league title since 1990.

So, it is understandable that the club doesn't want any potential unwanted drama from anything its players may have posted - unwittingly or not - on social media during their time in Dubai.

In fact, it is quite refreshing to be able to see such celebrities down their mobile phones for such a period of time.

If that's what it takes to help give them an edge in the title race then good luck to them.

Updated: January 24, 2019 12:09 PM

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