EPL

Liverpool couldn't have expected Salah, Mane and Firmino to be this good – Klopp

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

Jurgen Klopp saluted Mohamed Salah ahead of a Liverpool milestone, but acknowledged he did not expect the Egyptian and his fellow forwards to be as effective as they have become.

Salah joined the Reds from Roma three years ago in a deal that reportedly cost an initial £34million.

In 105 Premier League matches, Salah – who is generally deployed from the right – has scored 73 goals, including a record-setting 32 in 2017-18.

The Egypt star has helped turned Liverpool into European and domestic champions, his understanding with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack making them a deadly trio that has scored 250 times under Klopp.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Arsenal, in which Salah is expected to make his 150th appearance, Klopp said: "First and foremost, that means he played 50 games a year, each season, 50 games, and still counting. Unbelievable. That's a big number.

"Obviously he was lucky and we were lucky that he could play all these games, because he was not injured, which is good.

"I was very positive in the moment when it was clear that we signed him. I remember our talk, when we first met face to face, when we spoke.

"'What's your favourite position?' 'It would be right wing, but Sadio Mane is playing there and he played a pretty good season.' 'Yes, he does, but he can play the other wing as well.'

"That was pretty much the start. The idea was clear how we want to play with the boys up front, but it worked out in a manner which we couldn't have expected. They scored now 250 goals since they [joined the club], that's an incredible number.

"It was a good day for Liverpool [when Salah signed] and a very good day as well for Mo because it fits really well and that's very important in life. You cannot change the world alone, but together, with the right people around you, you have a better chance to do it."

Salah's future seems certain to lie at Anfield, and Dejan Lovren appears likely to stay put for the time being as well.

The 31-year-old has been a fringe player this season, but Klopp insists he still appreciates what the Croatian offers.

Although the German would not comment specifically on reports the Reds are to trigger a one-year extension option to keep Lovren until 2022, it seems a departure is unlikely.

"Dejan played outstanding games for us, is a very important part of the squad, absolutely no problem," Klopp said.

"It's always like this – we have four centre-halves and we play usually with two of them, but we needed all four always, so a very, very important role. He played the Champions League final for us, played a lot of big games, and was always a very reliable player.

"Dejan was always either in the team or close to the team, or not available. There was nothing else, we never had problems. It's all good, but [I've] nothing to say about the contract situation because it's nothing to discuss in public. It's just how it is.

"The situation is absolutely clear – Dejan is a player of Liverpool and we need him. In this moment again, with Joel [Matip] injured we have again only three centre-halves.

"You need the quality we have on the centre-half position to be successful, and that's why there's nothing really to discuss."

Related items

  • RB Leipzig 'in no way inferior' to Atletico Madrid - Kampl RB Leipzig 'in no way inferior' to Atletico Madrid - Kampl

    Atletico Madrid may be one of the best teams in Europe but RB Leipzig have the talent to match them in their Champions League quarter-final, according to Kevin Kampl.

    Having twice lost finals in the competition during Diego Simeone's reign, Atleti will hope to finally get their hands on the famous trophy as the knockout stages are completed in Portugal.

    The LaLiga club ended Liverpool's title defence in the previous round but must now get past a Leipzig side who also knocked out English opponents to reach the last eight, impressively putting out Tottenham 4-0 on aggregate.

    Leipzig midfielder Kampl knows Atleti will be tough to beat, considering their reputation for being strong defensively, but believes there is no real favourite ahead of Thursday's meeting.

    "Atletico Madrid have been one of the best teams in Europe for years. They have a lot of experience on the field and have already made it to the final in recent seasons," he told the media.

    "Even if they haven't won the title yet, we know that this team is of high quality. We also know that they defend very well and have an extremely good counter-attack and know how to use their phases of possession. Often a 1-0 win is enough for them.

    "We have a great squad and are in no way inferior to Atletico's quality. We are always dangerous for goals, no matter what formation we play with or who will be on the pitch.

    "In addition, we are all aware of this great opportunity that is presented to us here. Everyone will tear themselves apart to win and advance to the semi-finals. There is no real favourite on Thursday."

    Leipzig will need to find a way to beat Jan Oblak, a goalkeeper Kampl knows all about from their time playing together for Slovenia.

    The 29-year-old is full of praise for his compatriot, rating him "one of the best in the world" ahead of the clash to decide who will progress through to a semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain or Atalanta.

    "Of course, I know Jan from my time with the Slovenia national team. He is a really outstanding keeper and for me is one of the best in the world," Kampl said.

    "He has already achieved a lot in his career and he still has enormous potential. We actually have still been in contact now and then.

    "We exchanged a few messages before we arrived and I'm looking forward to seeing him on the pitch on Thursday."

  • Winks says consistency will hold key to Spurs revival Winks says consistency will hold key to Spurs revival

    Harry Winks wants Tottenham to shed the inconsistency that has left them casting an envious eye at Europe's elite.

    After four consecutive years of Champions League football, Spurs will drop into the Europa League next season, a blow to a club with grand ambitions.

    That is the consequence of finishing sixth in the Premier League, with Tottenham's modest total of 59 points their lowest since the 2008-09 campaign.

    It was small consolation that they finished above rivals Arsenal, but the Gunners' FA Cup final victory over Chelsea meant it was they who finished the season with north London bragging rights.

    Spurs and their head coach Jose Mourinho will expect to deliver more next season, and England international Winks says it will be important to start strongly.

    The objective will be another top-four finish to secure a place in the 2021-22 Champions League.

    "We need to have a better season, in our opinion, it's been a bit up and down, a bit inconsistent," Winks said on the club's official website.

    "We started to find a bit of rhythm in the last few weeks and started to get a good run of results, so let's hope we can take that into next season and get a bit of consistency, build up a bit of confidence and finish where we deserve to finish and where we believe we should be finishing, and that's in the top four."

  • Dybala thanks former boss Sarri following major changes at Juventus Dybala thanks former boss Sarri following major changes at Juventus

    Paulo Dybala tweeted out his appreciation for Maurizio Sarri the day after the Italian coach was sacked by Juventus.

    The Serie A champions decided to take swift action following Friday's Champions League exit to Lyon, announcing the end of Sarri's reign less than 24 hours after the second leg of the last-16 tie.

    Juve did not wait long to name his replacement either, giving the job to Andrea Pirlo just over a week after appointing the former Italy international as their new under-23 team coach.

    The internal promotion came as a surprise too, considering links to former Juve player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Simone Inzaghi, who is in charge of domestic rivals Lazio.

    Reacting to the departure of Sarri, Dybala published a picture on Twitter of the pair together with the comment: "Thank you so much for everything Mister!"

    Argentina international Dybala enjoyed an excellent 2019-20 season under the former Napoli and Chelsea boss, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists in the league as the Bianconeri finished top of the table for a ninth successive year.

    Dybala - who was linked with a move away from Turin last year, including to Manchester United - was named Serie A MVP for his performances in domestic games, including Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana games.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.