Jurgen Klopp revealed he had spoken to Mohamed Salah about his disappointment over missing out on the Liverpool captaincy earlier this month.

In an interview with Diario AS, Salah said he was "very disappointed" not to be made captain against Midtjylland in the Champions League, while the star forward also refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was made skipper for the encounter in Denmark, but Klopp revealed he had made a mistake.

The Liverpool manager said he had discussed his decision with Salah, who has scored 16 goals in 21 games this season.

"I was captain for a long time in my career and I always thought 'what a job this is' because there are not a lot of benefits and there is a lot of work," Klopp said.

"I didn't feel, or do not feel, the importance of being captain. Before the game I did not realise how important that can be for players and I didn't realise how big a story it was for Trent.

"The rule here is we have a players' committee. The committee is Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum. These are pretty much the four captains. If they all cannot play, usually it is the guy who is longest in the club. And that, how I saw it, was Trent. I don't mean youth career, but in his professional career. Then somebody told me that on that basis it should have been Divock Origi. So it was my fault.

"Afterwards I spoke to Mo about it. Then I realised it did not work out that well so I clarified it. Obviously he gave the interview. That is not a problem for me. Obviously he was disappointed. I did not do it on purpose, and if I made a mistake then it was not making Divock Origi captain that day."

Salah's interview has led to greater speculation over the Egypt international's future, although the forward is contracted at Anfield until 2023.

But Klopp cannot see why the 28-year-old would want to leave Liverpool, who host West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday.

"I don't know, we all want it and we can look for something else if you want but the only reason to leave Liverpool right now is really the weather," he said.

"What other reason could be there? This is one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"We pay good money, maybe not the most in the world, but we pay good, and we have a sensational stadium, outstanding supporters with a fanbase all over the world. Our colours are red, which is the nicest colour anyway, so what is the reason? But you cannot force people to stay but that is it.

"We never did by the way, it is all about timing in the right moments, stuff like this. We have made changes to bring players in and if someone wants to leave we cannot hold them back."

Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by speculation over Mohamed Salah's Liverpool future, insisting the Premier League's leading scorer is in a "really good shape".

Salah has been in superb form for the Premier League champions this season, scoring 13 times in the top flight.

Reports have emerged over the last week linking Salah with a move away from Liverpool, who he joined from Roma in 2017.

Salah's current deal – signed in 2018 – runs until 2023, though the 28-year-old has hinted he sees his next challenge as being away from Merseyside, telling Diario AS: "I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs.

"Who knows what will happen in the future, but right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again. Of course I want to break records here and, I repeat, all the club records, but everything is in the hands of the club."

Salah's former Egypt team-mate Mohamed Aboutrika has claimed the forward, who recently surpassed Steven Gerrard as Liverpool's all-time leading scorer in the Champions League, has been unhappy at Anfield.

"I called Salah about his situation in Liverpool and he is upset, but that would never affect his performance on the field," Aboutrika told beIN SPORTS.

However, when pressed on Salah's situation ahead of Liverpool's home game against West Brom on Sunday, Klopp insisted there is nothing to suggest the player is unhappy.

"We never speak [in public] about [contracts], why should we start now? Mo is in a good mood, good moment, really good shape," Klopp told a news conference.

"Training – you would have seen him laughing a lot, he enjoyed the session, so that's good. All the rest is for sure nice for the media to write about but internally, nothing really.

"He is [operating at a high level]. There's always things to talk about, he didn't start the last game [against Crystal Palace], all the things you heard after about the reason, then he came on and scored two.

"Obviously he doesn't need a long time. He's in a good moment, I hope he stays like this. All of the boys were in a good moment, that's why we have the points we have.

"The toughest period of the season is now ahead of us. We have to make sure we get through this with the right results."

Salah's goals have propelled Liverpool to the top of the league, with 31 points – four clear of second-placed Leicester City.

The Reds are the first Premier League side to sit top of the tree at Christmas in three successive seasons, though Klopp – whose team failed to go on and win the title from the same position in 2018-19 – knows it is no guarantee of success.

"It obviously means you are not automatically champion, otherwise we would have won the league three times," Klopp said.

"It's the best position to be in but we will know how tough it will be. We have not yet played half of the season. It's nice, but it's nothing else.

"Two years ago when we didn’t win after being top of the table at Christmas, it was not about a lack of focus, it was about the quality of the opponents. This quality is still out there, so nothing really happened so far. We have to collect more points, that's what we try."

Erling Haaland is Chelsea's number one transfer target, while a pair of Premier League giants are lining up January bids for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has netted 23 goals in 23 games since moving to the Bundesliga in January, leading to him reportedly being installed as Frank Lampard's top target for the off-season.

Will Haaland make the move to Chelsea?


TOP STORIES – CHELSEA WANT HAALAND

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has been identified as Chelsea's top transfer target along with West Ham's Declan Rice, according to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante.

Haaland has been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

But Haaland is wanted in London as Chelsea prepare for a clear-out, with seven players being made available – Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses.

Manchester City and Manchester United are set to battle it out for the signature of Bayern Munich's star defender David Alaba.

Alaba's Bayern contract expires in June 2021 and both Manchester clubs have made approaches for the 75-cap Austria international.

Pep Guardiola coached the 28-year-old during his time in the Bundesliga, but City may face further competition for the two-time Champions League winner.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CITY SET FOR TUG-OF-WAR OVER ALABA

Manchester City and Manchester United have each made formal contact with Alaba 's agent Pini Zahavi, reports Spanish media outlet AS.

Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has accepted the European champions can do nothing to keep Alaba, despite trying "everything" to convince the nine-time German league champion to stay.

But the Manchester rivals are not the only interested parties, with Real Madrid the favourites to land Alaba, according to the Daily Mail.  Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also in the race.

 

ROUND-UP

- Everton left-back  Lucas Digne  is another player on Guardiola's wish list, say the Daily Mail. The Toffees are set to offer the France international a bumper new contract to ward off  City 's advances, according to the Times.

PSG  are lining up a bid for Atletico Madrid's wantaway goalkeeper  Jan Oblak , say the Daily Mail. The Ligue 1 champions see 27-year-old Oblak, who wants a new challenge, as the successor to 34-year-old gloveman Keylor Navas in the French capital.

Mohamed Salah is unhappy at Liverpool and the Premier League giants are considering selling the star, according to his former Egypt team-mate Mohamed Aboutrika.

Salah, who has starred since arriving at Anfield in 2017, refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona during a recent interview with AS.

The forward also said he was disappointed not to be made captain for Liverpool's Champions League clash against Midtjylland earlier this month.

Aboutrika, who played 100 games for Egypt, said Salah was unhappy at Liverpool.

"I called Salah about his situation in Liverpool and he is upset, but that would never affect his performance on the field," he told beIN SPORTS.

"I know that Salah is not happy in Liverpool, he told me the reasons why he is not happy but they are secrets and I cannot talk about it in public. One of the reasons that made Salah angry that he was not the captain against Midtjylland."

Salah joined Liverpool from Roma for a reported £36.9million (€42m) in mid-2017.

Aboutrika believes the Premier League champions are thinking about selling the 28-year-old forward.

"In my opinion, Liverpool is considering selling Salah for economic purposes," he said.

Salah has scored 110 goals in 173 career appearances for Liverpool, including 16 in 21 this season.

He has helped the club win the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are confident over a move for Lionel Messi, while Mohamed Salah is eyeing Real Madrid.

Messi sensationally requested to leave Barcelona during the close season, but ended up staying with the LaLiga giants.

While the star made more history on Saturday, his contract expires at the end of the season – and two European giants think he is ready to make a move.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY, PSG CONFIDENT OVER MESSI

Manchester City and PSG are confident Messi is prepared to leave Barcelona in 2021, according to 90min.

The big-spending European giants have been among the most heavily linked with a move for Messi, who is out of contract at Barca next year.

Messi equalled Pele's record of 643 goals for one club with his header against Valencia in LaLiga on Saturday.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool star Salah discussed a potential move to Real Madrid or Barcelona in an interview with Diario AS on Saturday – and the forward apparently has a club in mind. DefensaCentral reports the Egypt international wants a move to Madrid, who have apparently maintained close contact.

- Barcelona could be set for good news in January. L'Equipe reports Lyon are prepared to sell Memphis Depay – who has been linked with the LaLiga giants and is out of contract at the end of the season – for €5million.

- Manchester City are prepared to listen to offers for Oleksandr Zinchenko in January, according to 90min. Zinchenko has played just 12 minutes in the Premier League this season.

- Struggling for game time this season, Daniel James has been linked with a move away from Manchester United. However, the Manchester Evening News reports James is committed to staying with the Premier League giants beyond January.

Liverpool registered a historic win in their seven-goal blitz of Crystal Palace and the records of an unwanted kind kept coming for Arsenal in their defeat to Everton.

The reigning Premier League champions opened up a five-point lead at the top, with Merseyside rivals Everton their closest challengers after beating an Arsenal side slipping further into the abyss with each passing game.

Manchester City also got back to winning ways thanks to a Raheem Sterling-inspired success at Southampton, while Newcastle United and Fulham played out a draw at St James' Park in the late kick-off.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's action in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool: Reds run riot as Klopp overtakes Rafa

Jurgen Klopp registered a landmark victory in a historic win for Liverpool at Selhurst Park as the Reds won an away top-flight match by a margin of seven goals for the first time in their history.

German coach Klopp overtook Rafael Benitez (126) for the most triumphs as a Liverpool boss in the Premier League with his 127th success.

It was the first time the Merseyside outfit scored seven goals in a league game - each assisted by a different player - since a 9-0 triumph over Palace in September 1989, with the Eagles conceding seven in a home match for the first time.

Substitute Mohamed Salah netted a brace and laid on an assist for fellow two-goal forward Roberto Firmino - the 17th time the pair have combined for a Premier League goal for Liverpool, placing them behind only Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman (24).

Takumi Minamino, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane were also on the scoresheet, the latter becoming only the fourth player in Premier League history to score in seven successive appearances against an opponent.

Southampton 0-1 Manchester City: Sterling sinks Saints again

Sterling's sweeping finish proved enough for City to return to winning ways at St Mary's Stadium as they became the first team to stop Southampton from scoring in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season.

Match-winner Sterling has been directly involved in 11 goals in 16 Premier League meetings with Southampton – only against West Ham (14) has he had a hand in more.

Kevin De Bruyne set up that goal and now has 15 Premier League assists in 2020, which is three more than anyone else. The only time the Belgium playmaker set up more goals in a single calendar year in the competition was in 2017 (18).

City kept their opponents at bay from that point on and now boast the best defensive record in the division, conceding the fewest goals (12) and keeping more clean sheets (six) than any other team.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Arteta Holding on after latest defeat

Two days ahead of the one-year anniversary of his Everton appointment, Carlo Ancelotti celebrated victory over Arsenal to guarantee the Toffees a place in the top four at Christmas for the first time since 2004-05.

Rob Holding's own goal - the third by an Arsenal player in the Premier League this season - gave Everton the lead before Nicolas Pepe converted from the penalty spot for a team-high eighth goal involvement this term.

But Yerry Mina scored what proved to be the winning goal just before half-time to inflict an eighth defeat of the campaign on Arsenal, whose return of 14 points from 14 games is their fewest since 1974-75 (12 points when converted to three for a win).

Each of Mina's past four goals have come in the 45th minute - only Chris Eagles has scored as many consecutive goals in the same minute before, notching four times in the 90th between 2007 and 2011.

Goals are something Arsenal are still struggling for, meanwhile, having now failed to score from open play in their past five Premier League away matches, their only two goals in that run coming from the penalty spot.

Newcastle United 1-1 Fulham: Visitors pay the penalty in St James' stalemate

Newcastle benefited from another penalty - their third in six Premier League home games - as they recovered to earn a point against an improving Fulham side at St James' Park.

Callum Wilson made no mistake from 12 yards as he took his tally for the campaign to eight in 12 top-flight appearances, matching his return from 35 games with Bournemouth last term.

Fulham have conceded a league-high five penalties this season, including three in their past four outings, and had Joachim Andersen dismissed for the incident leading to the spot-kick - the third Danish player to see red for Fulham in the competition after Leon Andreasen and Claus Jensen.

However, Scott Parker's men - who led through Matt Ritchie's first-half own goal - held on to pick up at least a point when finishing a Premier League game with 10 men for the first time since they beat QPR 3-2 in April 2013, having lost on each of the five subsequent occasions.

Newcastle have failed to keep a clean sheet in their 11 most recent Premier League games on home soil, their longest run since February 2005 (also 11 games), but they still climbed two places into 12th.

Robert Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool ended a five-game winless run away from home in the Premier League with an emphatic 7-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Jurgen Klopp's champions had drawn four and lost one of their top-flight games on the road following a 2-0 win at Chelsea on September 20, but a return to winning ways away from Anfield was never in doubt after Takumi Minamino's opener after 125 seconds. 

They followed that up with fine goals from Sadio Mane and Firmino before half-time, while Jordan Henderson, Firmino and a brace from substitute Salah sealed a stunning victory in the second period. 

The dominant win stretched Liverpool's lead at the summit to six points, although Tottenham could reduce that back to three with a win over Leicester City on Sunday.

Liverpool wasted little time asserting their authority on the game, Minamino lashing his first Premier League goal into Vicente Guaita's bottom-right corner from 10 yards after being teed up by Mane.

The Reds doubled their advantage against the run of play 10 minutes before the interval, Mane flashing a fine strike past Guaita from 15 yards after collecting Firmino's pass.

They then capped a wonderful first half in the 44th minute, Firmino controlling Andy Robertson's cross before superbly flicking past a helpless Guaita with the outside of his foot.

Things went from bad to worse for Palace after the restart as Henderson grabbed his first goal of the season, the captain expertly whipping into the far corner from 22 yards after being set up by Trent Alexander-Arnold. 

Firmino then added his second in the 68th minute, lifting over Guaita from Salah's incisive pass before the Egypt international added a sixth with a close-range header nine minutes from time.

Salah added further gloss to the scoreline three minutes later, curling into Guatia's top-right corner from outside the penalty area.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah refused to rule out a move to LaLiga champions Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Salah has been a revelation since joining Liverpool from Serie A side Roma in 2017, spearheading the Reds to Champions League and Premier League glory.

The Egypt international's exploits have not gone unnoticed at Anfield amid speculation linking him with Spanish giants Madrid and Barca.

Asked if he could rule out a transfer to either of the LaLiga powerhouses, Salah told Diario AS: "I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs. 

"Who knows what will happen in the future, but right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again."

Pressed on his future and how much longer he sees himself playing for Liverpool, Salah replied: "That's a tough question, but right now I can say that everything is in the hands of the club. 

"Of course I want to break records here and, I repeat, all the club records, but everything is in the hands of the club."

Salah has scored a joint-high 11 Premier League goals for reigning champions Liverpool this season, following his strike in the 2-1 win over rivals Tottenham midweek.

The 28-year-old has netted 14 across all competitions as leaders Liverpool prepare for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

In 21 Premier League appearances in December, Salah has scored 17 goals and assisted a further nine, averaging a goal or assist every 66 minutes. It is his best goal involvement ratio in any month in which he has played more than one game, per Opta.

"I would like to break all the club records, that would be fine. But yeah, it's like I said, the team comes first before any record," Salah said. "But breaking records and winning matches, that's great too."

Liverpool top the table by three points, ahead of Tottenham after 13 games, and Salah added: "I think it is a bit early to say that [Liverpool are title favourites], but yes, we are doing well just like other teams. 

"I hope we have the best chance of winning it."

Liverpool claimed a big win in the Premier League title race on Wednesday, as the champions saw off Tottenham to take a three-point lead at the top.

The Reds will look to extend their unbeaten run in the top flight to 10 matches when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah is likely to play a key role for Liverpool, while Raheem Sterling is aiming to set a record at Manchester City and the duo headline our Opta-powered Premier League fantasy picks for matchweek 14.

 

MOHAMED SALAH

Salah has scored in all three of Liverpool's games in December so far, and is averaging a goal or assist every 66 minutes in the month across his Premier League career.

It is the best ratio in any month in which he has played more than one match.

Salah already has 11 league goals to his name this term, sitting top of the charts along with Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

RAHEEM STERLING

Sterling created City's goal on Tuesday, with a neat cross for Ilkay Gundogan to sweep home his first Premier League goal in nearly a year, but Pep Guardiola's team could only draw 1-1.

It left them eight points adrift of pace-setters Liverpool, though Sterling is well in the hunt for a club record.

The England forward has been directly involved in 148 goals under Guardiola in all competitions, and is looking to become the first player to reach 150 during the Spaniard's time at City.

 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

Arsenal are in dismal form heading into Saturday's contest with Everton, who have won their last two outings – against Chelsea and Leicester City respectively.

Mikel Arteta's team ended a three-game losing streak when they drew at home to Southampton, though it is now six matches without a top-flight win for the Gunners.

One positive is that Aubameyang netted the equaliser against the Saints – just his third league goal of the season. He has scored four times in as many starts against Everton – he only has more goals against Burnley (seven) and Watford (six) in the Premier League than the Toffees.

 

CALLUM WILSON

An alternative to Aubameyang could be Wilson, who has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals in 11 appearances for Newcastle United.

His seven goals and three assists mean he has contributed to seven more goals than any other Magpies player so far.

Newcastle take on Fulham on Saturday, with Scott Parker's team having drawn their last two games - versus Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion.

 

HARRY KANE

Before bursting onto the Premier League scene with Tottenham, Kane spent time on loan with Leicester, and against no club has he scored more in all competitions.

Kane has netted 16 times against the Foxes – five more than against any other team.

With Spurs having failed to win their last two games, their talisman will be determined to continue that form and get Mourinho's men back on track, though Leicester will be no pushovers.

PATRICK BAMFORD

Leeds United forward Bamford moved onto nine league goals for the season when he drew Marcelo Bielsa's team level with Newcastle on Wednesday.

The Whites went onto win 5-2 and, since Bielsa took charge of Leeds in 2018, no player has scored more goals for the club than Bamford.

In 85 appearances across all competitions, the former Chelsea forward has 35 goals.

 

PEDRO NETO

Diogo Jota's departure to Liverpool and Raul Jimenez's head injury means there is extra onus on Wolves' remaining attackers, and Neto delivered the goods with a last-gasp winner against Chelsea last time out.

Neto has been directly involved in as many goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season – three goals, three assists– as he was in 29 games last season, when he scored four times and set up another two goals.

Roberto Firmino's late header put Liverpool top of the Premier League table as Tottenham were beaten 2-1 at Anfield.

Son Heung-min's contentious first-half equaliser looked to have kept Spurs at the summit on goal difference after Mohamed Salah's 14th goal of the season put the champions in front.

Firmino rose to head home Andy Robertson's corner in the 90th minute to dramatically win it, though, and put the Reds three points clear of Jose Mourinho's side.

Spurs felt Firmino's goal should have been ruled out for a foul by Jordan Henderson on Eric Dier when Robertson's delivery came in, but Spurs' 11-match unbeaten run in the top flight came to a halt.

Both teams struck the woodwork through Steven Bergwijn and Sadio Mane in the second half before Firmino won it.

A team not so long ago considered an unstoppable force meets one now deemed an immovable object when Liverpool host Tottenham on Wednesday, a battle of the Premier League top two in a race that feels like it will be a case of survival of the fittest.

The Reds have won the previous four league meetings between the teams, all by a solitary goal. However, that was then – now they are stretched by injuries amid a demanding schedule that is only getting busier in the coming weeks.

This is also the first time Spurs have visited Anfield during Jose Mourinho's reign. The Portuguese has had his successes at the ground in previous roles, though a 3-1 defeat on Merseyside ended his Manchester United tenure.

If there were any concerns that Tottenham were appointing yesterday’s man when choosing for Mourinho to replace Mauricio Pochettino, they have been dismissed by results so far in the 2020-21 season.

The north London club stuttered out of the gate with a home loss to Everton, but since then are unbeaten in the league. That run has included victories over both Manchester clubs, as well as rivals Arsenal. There was a draw – including a clean sheet – at Mourinho's former employers Chelsea, too.

Mourinho has devised a cunning plan: defend in numbers, deny space through the middle and yet still maintain a consistent threat on the counter, utilising runners against defensive lines pushing high due to a dominance of possession to sucker punch opponents. Liverpool, minus Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, may be ripe for the picking.

KANE ABLE TO SCORE AND CREATE

It is hardly a surprise that Harry Kane holds the key for Spurs. The talismanic striker has scored nine league goals this term. His long-range strike against Crystal Palace on Sunday means he has been involved in 14 (eight goals and six assists) in his past eight away league games. 

The England international's playmaking abilities have garnered plenty of attention, and rightly so. He is creating 1.9 chances (including assists) per 90 minutes in the 2020-21 season so far, more than double his tally for the previous campaign. 

In part, this has been a function of continuing the pattern of dropping deeper into midfield, as demonstrated with the opener he created for Son Heung-min against Arsenal.

Per Opta's zonal maps for time spent in certain areas of the pitch, Kane has spent 19.11 per cent of league games in a central position between the opposing team's penalty area and the halfway line. That is actually a slight decrease from 2019-20, when the figure was 20.91 per cent. 

He is spending slightly less time inside the box (5.93 per cent compared to 7.08 per cent), yet his total shots have risen – 2.8 to 3.9 – along with his goals ratio, sitting at 0.8 per 90 minutes through 12 appearances.

And on top of that, Kane's 18 Premier League goals (excluding penalties) since Mourinho's appointment is a significant 5.1 increase on his expected goals (xG) figure, further highlighting his ruthlessness in attack.

But that's not to say Spurs are relying only on the England star. Son's relationship with Tottenham's talisman has proven vital so often, with their 12 goal combinations this term already just one off equalling the all-time record for a single campaign.

The South Korea star's dynamism in the final third makes him the ideal partner for Kane: as he drops deeper, Son's pace and off-the-ball movement frequently helps create overloads and goalscoring opportunities.

Mourinho has managed to exploit this, though Son's finishing ability has also proven a key factor as evidenced by the fact his 18 Premier League goals under the Portuguese manager is, remarkably, almost double his xG rating of 9.3.

The Reds will almost certainly have to get a handle on them if they are to see off Spurs on Wednesday, but whether they have the defensive capabilities without Van Dijk remains to be seen.

SALAH MAKING UP THE SLACK

It's fair to say Liverpool haven't quite met expectations this season, but let's not get carried away – after all, ahead of Wednesday's match they are only behind leaders Spurs on goal difference.

Additionally, they have clearly been impacted by a spate of injuries to key players, and regardless of Mourinho dismissing the importance of such a situation at a big club, one cannot expect a team not to be affected.

Nevertheless, the Reds are not quite as fluent in the final third as they were last term.

The focus of many Liverpool critics – and even fans – has been the form of Roberto Firmino, who, while still able to be influential, does appear to be struggling to reach the heights most expect of him.

The Brazilian has two goals in 12 league games at an average of 0.19 every 90 minutes, which is down from 0.27 last term. He is also producing fewer assists (down from 0.24 per 90 mins to 0.19) and seen a decrease in key passes (1.56 per 90 mins to 1.12).

Sadio Mane's productivity has also declined somewhat, his goals per 90 minutes down to 0.4 from 0.6, while last term he was creating just shy of two chances every game – that's now at 1.6.

But the same cannot be said of Mohamed Salah, whose 10 Premier League goals in 11 games has him netting at a frequency of 0.94 per 90 minutes (up from 0.59) and his chance creation has increased from 1.9 to 2.16.

Diogo Jota has proven a welcome addition as well, though long-term injury robs Liverpool of the Portugal international's flexibility.

Defensively, Liverpool aren't as impressive as they were either. While Van Dijk's loss is clearly a factor, he did also feature in the 7-2 drubbing by Aston Villa in October.

Only four times this season has Liverpool's expected goals against (xGA) figure not surpassed 1.0 in Premier League games, and that is surely a worrying omen with Kane and Son coming to town.

Liverpool missed the chance to go outright top of the Premier League as they had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Fulham.

The hosts had taken a deserved lead in a first half they dominated when Bobby Decordova-Reid struck home in emphatic fashion after finding space in the area.

Jurgen Klopp's visiting side continued to concede chances from there but, after getting in at half-time just one down, they found a way back into the game in the second period through Mohamed Salah's penalty.

There was no late siege on the hosts' goal, however, as Fulham held on for a point that continues their recent revival.

Having earned a reputation for slow starts so far this season, Fulham chose the visit of the champions to try out a new tactic of flying out of the traps.

And it certainly seemed to work, with Ivan Cavaleiro drawing two good saves in quick succession from Alisson after sneaking in behind during the early stages.

A challenge on the same Fulham attacker in the box was examined at length by VAR shortly after but, despite no spot-kick being awarded, the hosts' rhythm certainly did not suffer.

As such, it was no surprise to see them take the lead through Decordova-Reid, who latched onto a clever Ademola Lookman pass just inside the box before lashing the ball into the far corner.

After putting together one of their poorest halves of the season, the visitors could have done without suffering yet another injury blow at half-time as a sore back for Joel Matip forced him off.

Jordan Henderson's move into the backline did little for their organisation, either, with Andy Robertson almost diverting a clearance in off a Fulham player moments after the restart.

They did at least improve from there, with Henderson drawing a smart save from Alphonse Areola at close range soon after, but Liverpool struggled to consistently turn possession into chances of note.

Consequently, it was always going to take some good fortune to get Liverpool back into the game, and they got just that when Georginio Wijnaldum's seemingly harmless free-kick was handled by Aboubakar Kamara in the defensive wall.

Salah did the rest from 12 yards, though only just as a weak spot-kick narrowly evaded Areola, setting up a thrilling end to the game.

Scott Parker's men saw little of the ball from that point on, but they continued to look defensively resolute as they took a share of the spoils their performance doubtless merited.

What does it mean?

With Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham all dropping points over the weekend, this was Liverpool's chance to stamp their mark on the title race.

However, Klopp's men missed their chance, as Fulham showed that their poor early-season form is now a thing of the past.

What's next?

After missing the chance to leapfrog them in the table, Liverpool host title rivals Tottenham at Anfield on Wednesday. Fulham, meanwhile, have another home game against Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp hailed the "absolutely exceptional" Mohamed Salah after the forward became Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League.

Salah opened the scoring as Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw with Midtjylland in Denmark on Wednesday.

It was the Egypt international's 22nd goal for the club in the Champions League (excluding qualifiers), moving him past Steven Gerrard (21) as their all-time top goalscorer in the competition.

Salah was lauded by Klopp following the achievement, with his opener coming after just 55 seconds – the quickest goal Liverpool have ever scored in the Champions League.

"[It's] one record after the other. I didn't know that he could break this record [on Wednesday] but I'm pretty sure he is proud of that. He should be," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"Exceptional player, absolutely exceptional player. Since we worked together obviously a lot of things clicked really for all of us. He helps the team massively and he knows and appreciates the help of the team as well.

"If we would have only Mo, even the incredible number of goals he got would not have been enough to be as successful as we were so thank God others scored a lot of goals as well.

"That made this team pretty successful but that Mo is a very exceptional player – I think nobody doubted it, but if you need numbers to prove it then he delivers that as well."

Of his 22 Champions League goals for Liverpool, 16 have come with his left foot and six with his right. That tally includes three penalties. Salah has also scored from outside the box three times.

Since Salah's arrival at Anfield in 2017, only Robert Lewandowski (31), Cristiano Ronaldo (29) and Lionel Messi (24) have scored more Champions League goals than his 22.

Liverpool had already secured top spot in Group D, and Klopp's men make the trip to Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah is aiming to "make the gap bigger" between himself and Steven Gerrard after the Egyptian overtook the Liverpool legend as the Reds' Champions League record goalscorer.

Salah netted his 22nd goal in the competition – excluding qualifiers – for Liverpool in the opening minute of Wednesday's clash with Midtjylland.

It saw him surpass Gerrard's record of 21, with the former Liverpool captain having won the Champions League in 2004-05.

Liverpool's opener was also the quickest strike in their Champions League history, with Salah having intercepted a loose back-pass to prod home after just 55 seconds.

Midtjylland fought back to draw 1-1 in contentious fashion, with the Danish side scoring from a penalty awarded after a long VAR check.

Alexander Scholz converted the spot-kick and thought he had scored a second when he finished from an acute angle, only for VAR to rule it out, with the technology then disallowing Takumi Minamino a winner at the other end.

Speaking to BT Sport at full-time, Salah was delighted to have cemented his name in Liverpool's record books, but is now looking to put distance between himself and the others on the list.

"It's a great feeling to be the top scorer for the club, it's something I'm proud of," said the 28-year-old.

"I need to keep going with that, score more goals, make the gap bigger between me and the others! I'm trying all the time to score goals to help the team to win games.

"One of the most important goals. They played good, almost man-marked us. We scored the goal early, but they strike back, they played a good game.

"The most important thing is to qualify, it's a game to learn [from]."

SALAH'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOALS BY SEASON

2017-18 (10)

Salah's first goal for Liverpool in the Champions League proper came in a 2-2 draw with Sevilla on September 13, 2017. He followed that up with a further nine goals, taking his tally to 10 for the campaign from 13 appearances, while he provided four assists.

The former Roma star, who went off injured as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the final, crafted 29 chances for team-mates, while converting 70 per cent of the big opportunities he was presented with, as per Opta data, averaging a goal every 92 minutes 54 seconds, and his maiden Champions League campaign with Liverpool remains his best on an individual level.

2018-19 (5)

Salah's output in Europe dropped off slightly in 2018-19, as Liverpool went on to win their sixth European Cup. He scored five goals and set up an additional two from 12 appearances.

All five of his strikes were from inside the area, with two of them from the penalty spot – including the opener in the final against Tottenham. 

2019-20 (4)

Liverpool's defence of their title was ended in March, when they slipped out at home to Atletico Madrid in the last 16, just before football across Europe was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Salah started in all eight of Liverpool's games and was subbed off only twice, clocking up a total of 731 minutes, while his four goals were shared equally between his left and right feet, with one coming from outside the box. His big chance conversion rate, so high in his first season, dropped to 30 per cent last term.

2020-21 (3)

Salah's conversion percentage when it comes to good chances has risen to 40 this term, having netted three goals from his six group-stage appearances.

He has created six chances, including one assist, with his strikes all coming from inside the 18-yard box – two with his imperious left foot, and the other with his right. Salah is yet to score for Liverpool with a header in the Champions League.

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