Saturday 21 July 2018

'He was limping – that's never a good sign' - Mo Salah emerges as injury worry for Liverpool

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool leaves the pitch to make way for Georginio Wijnaldum
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool leaves the pitch to make way for Georginio Wijnaldum

Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned Premier League opponents Mohamed Salah can still get better despite the Egypt international's record-equalling first half of the season.

The 25-year-old summer signing took his tally to 23, matching Roger Hunt's 1961-62 club record of goals before the new year, with both goals as the Reds came from behind to beat Leicester 2-1.

Salah has scored 17 in the Premier League, one behind Tottenham's Harry Kane, and averages a goal every 94 minutes.

However, Klopp sees much more room for improvement.

"Yes, he can keep that standard, for sure. He is still a young player, he can improve," the German said.

"It's not about scoring only, it's about other situations as well. He's so important for us but he knows and I know that he couldn't score if he didn't have the fantastic support of all the other boys.

"We played fantastic passes. Sadio Mane's idea (a back-heel) in the moment before Mo scored the first goal I don't think a lot of people in the stadium saw that it would be an opportunity. That was really important."

Salah was taken off with seven minutes remaining and Klopp revealed he will be a slight concern ahead of the trip to Burnley on New Year's Day.

"He was limping – that's never a good sign," Klopp said. "We'll see what he can do for the next game."

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Conceding a goal after just three minutes to Jamie Vardy - his seventh in eight appearances against the Reds - immediately led to the television director at Anfield cutting to shots of Virgil van Dijk in the directors' box.

The goal came from a mistake by Joel Matip, who is vying with Dejan Lovren to become Van Dijk's central defensive partner when the Holland international signs from Southampton for £75million on Monday.

However, Klopp says his players should embrace the arrival of the world's costliest defender.

"That's part of professional football," he said. "The really good players will always say that the challenge with other players for a position in the team will always help you.

"We cannot go in a season with two centre-halves and hope nothing happens. The third one is already logical and if you have a fourth one then it's even better.

"I don't think the boys were nervous. I couldn't see anything like that.

"They don't have any reason to be nervous because I'm really happy about the development of these players.

"But we have to obviously fight and battle with the biggest teams in world football, so we cannot go there with a group of 11 and being best friends every day."

Salah's two goals left Leicester boss Claude Puel frustrated after his side had done well to restrict their hosts for almost an hour.

"Of course it is a big disappointment at the end because we were leading for a long time," he said.

"In the first half we defended well with quality and perhaps we needed to keep the ball a little more but we created some problems for them and it was a fantastic start.

"The player who made the difference this afternoon was Salah. The second goal was not a chance - he created it himself with his quality.

"We played (against) a good team with fantastic players who make the difference.

"I think we deserved something because of our togetherness and I am frustrated for my squad.

"Now it is important to look forward and recover for the next game on Monday (at home to Huddersfield)."

Press Association

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