EPL

Liverpool boss Klopp 'very positive' about Salah contract situation

By Sports Desk January 12, 2022

Jurgen Klopp is confident that Mohamed Salah will sign a new contract with Liverpool amid speculation around the forward's future.

Salah, who is currently on international duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, recently gave an interview to GQ in which he stated he is not asking for "crazy" money during negotiations, adding that he wants to stay but that the decision rests with the club.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Thursday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal, Klopp was asked about Salah's interview and whether he was at all worried the star might not re-sign, with just 18 months remaining on his current deal at Anfield.

"I know that Mo wants to stay. We want Mo to stay. That's where we are," Klopp told reporters. "These things take time. I think it is in a good place. I'm very positive about it.

"There is nothing to worry about, it is a normal process. He has a contract here for this season and next season. It is all fine."

 

Klopp was also asked about his comments after the win against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup third round on Sunday that his players had returned "false positive" COVID-19 tests, which led to the first leg of the tie with Arsenal that had been scheduled to be played last week being postponed.

Liverpool requested that the game at the Emirates Stadium be pushed back by two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club that led to the training ground being closed for 48 hours.

But the German coach seemed to suggest many of those cases turned out to be false positives, with only Trent Alexander-Arnold returning another positive after re-testing.

"You get a positive test, then when you do a re-test a day, day and a half later, you get a result that makes it seem like a false positive because this test was negative," he clarified. 

"That doesn't change anything for your quarantine or whatever but if you need to know, you have to do a third test.

"Between the first and second, and second and third test you cannot use the players, so that's how the rules are.

"If you get a third test and that's negative as well, then that's it. It was now four days later, so we couldn't do anything different. When we got the positive tests, we had to consider that this was the right result."

Klopp confirmed that Alexander-Arnold is back in training along with Alisson, but Thiago Alcantara and Divock Origi remain sidelined by injury.

He also had a positive update on the status of Harvey Elliott, who has not played since suffering a fractured ankle in the 3-0 win at Leeds United in September.

"Harvey Elliott looks really promising out on the pitch now," said the Reds boss. "He didn't train with the team yet, but I don't think he's too far away from team training.

"What he's doing at the moment looks really good."

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    John Herdman has pledged to work on Toronto FC's shortcomings ahead of Saturday's derby versus CF Montreal, which he has described as a "six-pointer".

    Toronto ended a miserable 10-game winless run by beating the Philadelphia Union 2-1 last weekend but were then brought crashing back to earth in midweek.

    An Inter Miami team without Lionel Messi or Sergio Busquets, and with Luis Suarez limited to a substitute role, beat the Reds 3-1 to leave them eighth in the Eastern Conference.

    Speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Quebec, Herdman said getting on the right side of the fine margins must be their focus, saying: "We'll fix some things. 

    "We'll fix our set-pieces and move forward. We've got to look, mentally, at how we stay stronger, collectively, tactically how we adjust to manage these tougher periods. 

    "We will own this together and next task is on to Montreal. We've got two days to get ready for Montreal. Massive game. Six-pointer. We'll get after it.

    Winger Derrick Etienne Jr., meanwhile, thinks the match comes at an ideal time.

    "It comes at the right time," he said. "We want to get back to winning ways and I don't think there is any better way than getting a win in the derby."

    Montreal are level on points with Toronto but are on the rise after a 1-0 win over Atlanta United and Wednesday's 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls, coming from behind twice in the latter game.

    Mathieu Choiniere put through his own net in midweek but has impressed this season amid speculation he could leave the club, and boss Laurent Courtois has moved to highlight his contribution.

    "He wants to give everything for his club, and I need Mathieu, not only for his versatility but also for the mentality and identity we want to have here," Courtois said. 

    "Now the player wants to get something to feel more valued, and at the end of the day we're all the same right? You just want to be valued for what you give, and he gives a lot."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    CF Montreal – Josef Martinez

    Martinez scored both of Montreal's goals off the bench on Wednesday, his 22nd multi-goal MLS match and his second as a substitute. 

    The striker's 22 multi-goal games are tied for third most in league history.

    Toronto FC – Federico Bernardeschi 

    Bernardeschi has scored six goals in five matches against Montreal, including a hat-trick in the rivals' last meeting. 

    Only Brian White (seven versus St. Louis City) has scored more goals against a single opponent in MLS since Bernardeschi joined the league in July 2022.

    MATCH PREDICTION – CF MONTREAL WIN

    Montreal have won five straight home matches against Toronto, the longest home winning streak by either team against the other in the history of the series (54 matches).

    They twice came from behind against the Red Bulls on Wednesday and have now lost just two of their last 11 matches (three wins, six draws). With home advantage on their side, they will be favourites.

    Indeed, Toronto are winless in their last eight away games (two draws, six losses), including losing their last five road matches in a row. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY 

    CF Montreal – 56.1%

    Toronto FC – 21.2%

    Draw – 22.7%

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    The Dutchman's injury-hit side finished eighth in the Premier League last season; their lowest final position in the competition.

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    Ten Hag also reflected on that FA Cup final against City, a game which was widely expected to spell the end for the Dutchman had United lost.

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    "Let's face it: you lose too many matches, it just takes strength to keep the team focused and motivated every time," he added. "The players are disappointed, the people around you are disappointed.

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