Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side are a better team now that they do not rely on Mohamed Salah’s goals.
Salah scored 44 goals across all competitions last season, including 32 in 36 Premier League appearances. The Egyptian has managed 20 this campaign but has failed to score in his last eight games, which has led some to label it a bad individual season.
Is Salah having a poor season? Four key things to know…
- Salah scored 44 goals across all competitions in his debut season for Liverpool.
- The Egyptian has followed that up with 20 so far in his second campaign.
- Salah has also failed to score in his past eight games, leading to criticism from outside Liverpool.
- But Klopp is insistent the winger is still playing his part as Liverpool chase the Premier League title.
But despite Salah scoring fewer goals, Liverpool are just one point behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and harbour hopes of a first title since 1990 with just six games to go.
The Reds are also in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they face Porto, and Klopp is adamant Salah is still very much doing his part off the ball, despite not having much success in the final third.
“How do you deal with a situation when he scored 40 goals last year?” Klopp told reporters.
“His career’s not over! It’s like if he can score this year 20 goals then he’s scored 60 in the last two. Wow, that’s not too bad! If you have only one (goalscorer), maybe you rely a bit too much on that.
“This year we don’t rely on Mo’s goals, but he’s still in a very good position in comparison to all the other players.
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“He’s a threat. He helps us a lot. He deals with all the new situations for him really well.
“It’s about work-rate, doing it again and again, and one day the ball will bounce in your direction.”
Liverpool have been swapping top spot with Manchester City often this season and could return to the Premier League’s summit with a win over Southampton on Friday. Pep Guardiola’s side are not in league action this season, instead playing in an FA Cup semi-final.
Klopp: Salah is still having an impressive season
Perhaps a victim of his own astonishing performances last season, Klopp believes Salah’s 20 goals is nothing to be ashamed of.
He added: “I don’t like it when a player goes to a game and thinks, ‘I have to score,’ I prefer, ‘I want to score.’ We have different situations in the season and setting up goals is just as important.
“It might not be as exciting in the stats or whatever but he [Salah] has scored 17 goals and seven assists. That’s impressive, actually – a good number, let’s carry on.”