Jurgen Klopp has suggested Mohamed Salah is “main man in the decisive situations” for Liverpool, admitting the Egyptian has been better than expected since moving to Anfield.
Salah has been one of Liverpool’s most important players since joining the club from AS Roma two years ago, scoring 75 goals across 113 appearances in all competitions, including 44 in his debut season.
Is Salah’s Liverpool ‘main man’? Five things to know…
- Salah scored 27 goals last season, just one more than Sadio Mane.
- There was tension between the pair when Salah failed to play in Mane against Burnley last month.
- Roberto Firmino has been heralded as the fulcrum of Liverpool’s attack because of his link-up play.
- Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk was named Uefa Player of the Season for 2018/19.
- But Klopp believes Salah is the team’s ‘main man’ when it comes to ‘decisive situations’.
The former FC Basel and Chelsea forward has formed a fruitful relationship with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with the trio considered one of Europe’s most fearsome attacking trios.
Despite their fine link-up, Salah and Mane appeared to be at loggerheads last month when the former failed to play in the latter against Burnley, resulting in Mane reacting angrily when substituted.
But Klopp has insisted the work Firmino and Mane put in allows Salah to be more decisive than anyone at Liverpool imagined he would be.
Asked if he expected Salah to be this good, Klopp said: “No, of course not, I don’t even think Mo saw that, that is how it is.
“We all have our dreams and Mo for sure, he dreams big and wants to achieve a lot and that is good. The way we play helped him, the status he had from the first day in the team helped him.
“It was different for him than in other years, we don’t have to talk about Chelsea, but it was a completely different role he played and even at Roma, he had Edin Dzeko next to him, he is the main man in the decisive situations, it’s ‘give the ball to him’ – that is how it is.
“Like at Barcelona, it is Lionel Messi and stuff like that, so you have these teams, we don’t have that here. So he could fill a role that we didn’t have in that moment with the two workhorses around him with Bobby (Firmino) and Sadio (Mane). It is quite a good offensive line!
“We didn’t see that he would score 44 goals but we saw that he would help us and that is the most important thing. I was really happy for him and happy for us. We need a bit of luck with signings, we had that.”
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‘Tricky’ for Liverpool to win the league this season
Klopp was named best men’s coach at the Fifa Best Awards on Monday after leading Liverpool to Champions League glory last season and narrowly missing out on the Premier League title.
Discussing the next step he plans to take with Liverpool, the German admitted it will be “tricky” to win the Premier League ahead of Manchester City this term – but that’s what the Reds will aim to do.
“The next step? I don’t know,” he said. “It is just to stay on this level and make the next steps and I cannot say that means we will be champions, that is not possible. We have the strongest competitors in the world, that is for sure.
“If you put Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the same league, that would be more difficult, but we have them already in the league, that quality.
“So that makes it really tricky. If we would have had more luck in a season… I don’t say Manchester City were lucky, my God, not at all, but they had it in parts where we didn’t, but at the end of the season they had more than we had and it was really decisive with little goals here and there.”