Football News

Klopp vs Salah plus other stats & stories you might have missed – PL GW35

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:30, 27 April 2024

No fewer than seven matches took place in the Premier League this Saturday.

The day began shortly after noon with title chasers Liverpool visiting West Ham. That was a precursor to a series of 3 p.m. games featuring Manchester United, relegation-threatened Sheffield United, Luton Town, and a rejuvenated Crystal Palace side.

Everton and Brentford faced off while those games concluded, with Aston Villa entertaining Chelsea in the evening kick-off.

With the bulk of matchday 35’s fixtures being played, it’s only natural if you miss an important or memorable event. But don’t worry – Squawka is here with several things you might have missed from this latest round of games.

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A clash of giants

It’s interesting times at Liverpool, with the Jurgen Klopp era soon ending. Feyenoord boss Arne Slot will soon be his successor amid their push to win another Premier League crown. However, while not mathematically over, chances are it’ll be heading to Arsenal or remaining with Manchester City, both of whom have a game or two in hand on the Reds. They are two behind leaders Arsenal, with the champions a point in front.

A humbling 2-0 loss at Merseyside rivals Everton was followed by a disappointing 2-2 draw at West Ham, though Liverpool’s performance didn’t grab the headline. That came before the contest began as Klopp named leading marksman and talisman Mohamed Salah on the bench. To say the Egyptian forward was disappointed with this demotion would be an understatement. Salah, unadvisedly, made his feelings known just as he was about to be introduced.

“It didn’t look good, I don’t think it looks good for the club. Mo Salah is a player who has started the majority of games for Liverpool and he will be fuming to be on the bench. But no-one likes to see this between a manager and a key player,” Peter Crouch told TNT Sports.

Klopp appeared to be giving Salah some final instructions while Darwin Núñez and Joe Gomez prepared to come on. However, Salah took issue with something and began gesticulating wildly at his manager. Each time it seemed to simmer down, Salah would find something else to say, appearing to shout at Klopp. For his part, Klopp gave him little or no attention or consideration, exchanging some words before turning his back and making his way towards the bench.

“No [I can’t say what was said], but we spoke about it already in the dressing room. That’s done,” Klopp commented afterwards after his exchange with Salah on the touchline. Salah said if he stopped to speak, “there will be fire,” which somewhat undermined his manager, who attempted to play down their row. The exchange summed up what has been bubbling under the surface at the club over the last few weeks.

“There is a real discussion for the new manager about what the future holds for Mo Salah – it’s the first time we’ve asked that question. He only has a year to go on his contract,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports.

“He’s looked a shadow of himself for a lot of this season but especially since he’s come back from injury. He is Liverpool’s legend, superstar, one of the all-time greats. But he’s been so far off it.”

Blades go down with a whimper

Chris Wilder knew the assignment coming into this latest matchday: win at St James’ Park, or they will be relegated. However, with only three wins to date, very few back the Blades and they were proven correct as Newcastle ran out 5-1 winners despite going behind. Anel Ahmedhodzic netted a surprise opener before the Magpies went goal crazy. Alexander Isak (brace), Bruno Guimarães, and Callum Wilson would net while Ben Osborn inadvertently put the ball into his net.

The result confirms Sheffield United’s relegation. Indeed, the Blades have suffered their ninth top-flight relegation (as many as local rivals Sheffield Wednesday, also 9), with only five teams suffering the drop from the top division of English football on more occasions: Birmingham City (12), Leicester City (12), West Brom (11), Bolton (10) and Manchester City (10).

Sheffield United can start planning for life in the Championship, while Newcastle can still finish sixth and secure a place in Europe next term. Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Burnley and their 13-point haul from the past six games mean that Eddie Howe’s side is now just one point behind the sixth-placed Red Devils with four remaining games.

“I’m very happy. It was important for us to stay in the race for Europe. We got off to quite a bad start and needed one goal against us to wake up. The reaction was very good. The manager gave us a wake-up call at half-time,” Isak said.

“Many of my penalties have been here at home. I tried to stay calm and focus on the moment. I was thinking I want a hat-trick. I haven’t had one. Europe is still alive and we have to focus on ourselves and we’ll see how it goes.”

Ending a miserable drought

Another disappointing result has ended Manchester United’s pursuit of reaching next season’s Champions League tournament. Erik ten Hag’s men once again squandered three points as they played out a 1-1 draw with Burnley at home. Zeki Amdouni netted from the spot three minutes from time, which cancelled out Antony’s opener, a strike that ended his personal 33-game Premier League drought.

It’s crazy to imagine now, but the much-maligned former Ajax winger had scored in his first three league appearances for Man Utd before waiting a while for the fourth and, eventually, the fifth. Burnley, meanwhile, keep their survival hopes alive.

“We have three games, I haven’t seen the other results but we will play until the last game and we will play until the end,” Amdouni told Premier League Productions.

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The form man

Between matchdays 23 and 30, Fulhman marksman Rodrigo Muniz netted eight goals. He went four games without a goal before returning to form against Crystal Palace this afternoon. Since the start of February, Cole Palmer and Phil Foden (11 each) have scored more goals than him (nine) in the competition.

Jeffrey Schlupp would score a 20-yard screamer in the 87th minute to ensure it ended level. That effort was Schlupp’s second Premier League goal of the season, 175 days after his first, which also came away from home against Burnley in November. He has scored at least two goals in his last six league campaigns for the Eagles.

We still believe

Rod Edwards will require Manchester City to do them a favour later this weekend. As things stand, they occupy the final relegation places, a point behind 17th place Forest, after suffering a 2-1 loss at Wolves today. Momentum, though, isn’t on their side.

Luton have won just one of their last 14 games in the Premier League (three draws and ten losses). In fact, since the start of this run in February, no side has won fewer games in the top four tiers (Rotherham and Sheffield United also one).

“I think you could see that today. If they didn’t believe it could have been a lot worse today, you would have seen it on the pitch and I didn’t see that at all,” Edwards said whether the players still believe.

“We thought if we’re going to lose it then it’s by going to chase an equaliser and that’s what we did. “The performance today from last week [losing 5-1 against Brentford] is a positive step. Wolves had some real quality today with players coming back. I just don’t think there was much in the game.”

73 years and counting.

Everton was last relegated from the English top flight in 1951 but looked in danger this season after receiving two points deductions totalling eight points and going on a run of 13 league games without a victory. Sean Dyche’s men defeated Bournemouth on the final day of last season to maintain their Premier League status. They beat Crystal Palace from 2-0 behind at half-time in their second-from-last match of the previous campaign under Frank Lampard to stay up.

Although circumstances were less dramatic, this was equally significant. At full-time, following their 1-0 win over Brentford, the Toffees head coach walked onto the pitch before sincerely applauding all four corners of Goodison Park, knowing this was a job well done under difficult circumstances. Idrissa Gueye’s strike and Jordan Pickford’s good work in goal ensured Everton won each of their last four home Premier League games without conceding; it’s their longest run in a single season since their final four games of the 2018-19 campaign under Marco Silva.