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Mo problem for Klopp


MENACE: Manager Jurgen Klopp insists Salah remains a big threat to opposition defences.  Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

MENACE: Manager Jurgen Klopp insists Salah remains a big threat to opposition defences. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

MENACE: Manager Jurgen Klopp insists Salah remains a big threat to opposition defences. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists there is no crisis surrounding Mohamed Salah's form and does not expect the Egypt international to repeat his record-breaking goalscoring feats from last season.

Salah, 26, enjoyed a stellar Anfield first year, scoring 44 goals and setting a new Premier League record of 32 goals for a 38-game campaign.

After a shoulder injury in May's Champions League final, Salah had a disappointing World Cup and on his return to English football does not look like the player who terrorised defences, scoring almost at will.

However, his tally of two goals from six matches in all competitions compares to three from half-a-dozen this time last year.

"Wow, that's a crisis," said Klopp sarcastically. "No-one remembers that, it is really no problem.

"On the defensive side in the last two games he was outstanding, perfect, and it is so important in these games especially, so that says everything about him: that he is really ready to work for the team in these moments.

"It is completely normal for an offensive player to have times when they don't score. But he is still a threat, had fantastic situations in both games and is in good shape.

"Finishing is something you can never take for granted. I would never do that, the players should never do that - only the fans are allowed to do that."

Klopp was asked whether the perception that Salah was not doing well was because many people expected him to repeat last season's heroics.

"Of course everyone expects that. It is completely normal," added the Reds boss. "We don't expect that. We want him to score as often as possible.

"I am fine with him, I think he is fine with me and the situation. At the end of the season we will see how it was, not at the beginning.

"The start was good for the team and also him as well. It wasn't like he finished last season but he needed time last year and we will take time this year."

While last season all the praise was lavished on Liverpool's front three, so far it has been the midfield winning all the plaudits.

Georginio Wijnaldum has been a revelation interchanging between a holding midfielder role and a more attacking one, while James Milner's fan club grows on a daily basis.

Milner, 32, was man of the match in Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain, matching his performance in the Spurs victory three days earlier.

"What was it last year? Most assists in the Champions League? How can you be surprised when he's doing similar things?" said Klopp (pictured) ahead of today's visit of Southampton.

"In football it can sound like a massive age, 32, but he's still young. He's a proper professional, so his body gives him the opportunity.

"He is now in a position which he loves. He's energetic and likes to cover big distances, that helps in midfield, but it helped us also at left-back.

"He can play football, which makes him a pretty valuable player to be honest!"

Meanwhile, Southampton boss Mark Hughes believes his side can go to Anfield confident of giving Liverpool cause for concern.

Southampton are unbeaten from the last three matches - but were left frustrated after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip at home on Monday as Brighton earned a draw with a stoppage-time penalty.

Despite coming up against a Liverpool side firing on all cylinders - and without ineligible on-loan Reds striker Danny Ings - Hughes has a positive mindset.

"It is a game that is going to test us clearly because they look on top of their form," the Southampton manager said.

"But we will go there with the intentions of causing them problems and maybe taking chances when we are presented with them, because in most games we create opportunities.

"Liverpool are in outstanding form and it was a great performance in Europe.

"It's going to be a big test for us, but we are on a decent run in terms of confidence.''

Hughes feels Liverpool under Klopp have "travelled a long way down the road" in the club's quest for a first league title since 1989/90.

Liverpool paid £75m to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January, which was a world-record fee for a defender.

Hughes believes the addition of such player could yet tip the balance as the Reds look to sustain their title challenge.

"What you would imagine as their first XI is very, very strong - as strong as any in the league," he added.

"And their squad looks really strong as well, that could be the difference this year."