Sunday 18 February 2018

Salah end product offers Klopp relief during tough spell

'Though he stopped short at describing the capture of the Egyptian as a bargain, Klopp praised Salah for how he has hit the ground running at Anfield.' Photo: Getty
'Though he stopped short at describing the capture of the Egyptian as a bargain, Klopp praised Salah for how he has hit the ground running at Anfield.' Photo: Getty

Mark Critchley

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hailed Mohamed Salah's immediate impact at the club since his £38m (€43m) signing from Roma in the summer.

Salah has scored five goals in eight appearances since arriving at Anfield, despite fears that he would struggle to adapt to the Premier League after a difficult two-year spell with Chelsea.

Though he stopped short at describing the capture of the Egyptian as a bargain, Klopp praised Salah for how he has hit the ground running at Anfield.

"What was it, £38m? I can never say a fee like this was cheap. But he's a very good player, one we were convinced about. That's why we did it," said the Liverpool manager.

"You could see in the first game at Watford. It was really physical and maybe a few people had doubts and thought it would be difficult for him, but he played better than anyone could have imagined.

"He was at Chelsea, but he was a kid there. Now he's much more mature and everything is better."

Klopp expected Salah to start well after a full pre-season and the Liverpool manager suggested that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined the club on the last day of the transfer window from Arsenal, deserves a similar amount of time to adapt.

While Salah is fast becomming a Kop hero, Daniel Sturridge remains on the periphery at Liverpool, but Klopp insists that the 28-year-old is still an important player for Liverpool.

Sturridge held talks with Klopp at the end of last season and stayed despite being linked with a move away from Anfield, but Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané have since established themselves as Klopp's first-choice front three.

The England international will have the chance to further his claim for a regular place today when Liverpool travel to Leicester City without Mané, who will serve the final installment of his three-game suspension for a red card in the defeat at Manchester City.

With Liverpool struggling to convert their chances in recent weeks, it has been suggested that an out-and-out striker like Sturridge could play an important part in solving their problems in front of goal. Sturridge has started only twice for Liverpool this season.

Attacking

Klopp will encourage his players to continue being their normal, attacking selves today as he seeks to end a run of four matches without a win.

The Reds have scored just three goals in that period, having scored 14 in their preceding five, and that has compounded the effect of conceding 10, although five of those came at Manchester City.

And while defence is the area coming in for criticism, Klopp knows that, if his forwards were firing, the scrutiny on their defence would be less intense.

"In the beginning it was so nice, how fluent we are, how creative we are. We are still fluent and still creative but we don't score, so it's a big problem," he said.

"If you would ask me what would you prefer: 'Do you want your team perfect in defending set-pieces but don't know how to play football or would you prefer the other way round?' - I still would take this (second) one. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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