Jurgen Klopp joked Mohamed Salah could have reached 50 Premier League goals even faster had he been selected up front more regularly.
Liverpool star Salah scored twice in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield, both finishes coming from close range, as Klopp’s men moved seven points clear of Manchester City.
The Egypt international is the fourth-quickest player to score 50 Premier League goals, despite making little impression at Chelsea on his arrival in English football.
And Klopp, who has used Salah in a more central role this term following his goalscoring exploits in winning the Golden Boot last term, hailed the versatile forward.
“Exceptional achievement from a world-class player,” Klopp told reporters. “He made a few steps in the last couple of months, in the right direction!
“Wow, an outstanding number. I heard the names of the other players who got there a bit quicker – Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole – good strikers as well, eh.
“Maybe he would have scored more and earlier if I hadn’t played him on the right wing so often. My fault! But no, not bad. Helped us a lot. It’s a typical win-win situation. He benefits from the style of play, and the boys benefit of course from his scoring desire. It’s cool.”
— Simon Mignolet (@SMignolet) January 19, 2019
With Liverpool out of the FA Cup, Klopp will take his squad to Dubai for a warm-weather training trip and the German feels the break comes at a good time.
Fabinho went down injured in the latter stages of the Palace game, in which James Milner was sent off, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez are among the players already sidelined.
“It’s a real break,” Klopp added. “If I would imagine now, Milly out and Fabinho for sure a doubt, it would have been a massive challenge if we had to play Wednesday and then Saturday. I have no idea how we would have done that, to be honest.
“Now we have two days’ recovery for the boys with the most minutes, then we start preparing them for the Leicester game, which is another tough task.”
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) January 19, 2019
Former Reds boss Roy Hodgson saw his side beaten at Anfield despite scoring three goals and he felt Liverpool’s clincher, scored by Sadio Mane before Max Meyer hit a late consolation, should have been disallowed.
“I’m very proud of the team. I don’t know what’s crazy about the game,” Hodgson told a news conference.
“We conceded some poor goals. The fourth shouldn’t be allowed because there’s a clear handball. So I’m not sure what’s crazy about it, I’m
disappointed for the boys that they’ve not got anything from it.
“You know they have extremely good players, you know it will be a hard task and it will require a lot of discipline and we did well to come back to 2-2 and 4-3 at the end after conceding a very unfair goal.”
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