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Klopp hails Salah composure despite missed chances as Reds beat Brighton

SoccerNews in English Premier League 31 Mar 2024

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no worries about Mohamed Salah’s misfires in front of goal because he keeps coming up with important moments when they need them most after his second-half winner against Brighton returned the Reds to the top of the Premier League.

Luis Diaz’s volley just before the half-hour allowed the hosts to recover from Brighton striker Danny Welbeck’s opener inside 90 seconds, but the Reds needed a clear head and a clinical touch from their Egypt international to secure a 2-1 victory.

Salah had 12 attempts on goal, his most in a Premier League match and the most on record by a Liverpool player in the competition.

It was also the most by any player in the top flight since Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Burnley more than seven years ago.

Despite the failures, when the excellent Alexis Mac Allister picked him out in the penalty area in the 65th minute, the Egyptian remained composed to deliver what could be an important goal in the title race.

“Imagine Mo would have finished off all the situations in his career? That would be crazy, so it is absolutely fine,” said Klopp.

“We need him to try. Mo, like the others, was a bit in a rush to finish off situations and didn’t do like they can do it.

“But then being that calm in the decisive moment with the biggest chance we had from the best football we played, then that makes a real goalscorer so we are happy with everything.

“Darwin (Nunez) opened up so many spaces, Lucho (Diaz) was incredible, they were all really good today.

“Their centre-halves were outstanding and it was just a really good game today, against an opponent you know it will be the hardest work.

“To defend them needs the highest intensity in English football and we did well.

“It was, from my point of view, the best performance against Roberto’s Brighton. More possession, better possession, a really good rhythm in the game.”

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi is second favourite with the bookmakers to succeed the departing Klopp at the end of the season and, as far as auditions go, this was a decent effort.

Speculation about the Italian intensified after he revealed in the build-up that contract negotiations were currently on hold, but he insists that does not affect his future.

“I have another two years of contract. To work next season at Brighton I don’t need to extend another year or two years,” he said.

“I can stay and work in Brighton with or without the extension. Nothing has changed.

“At the moment we finished the discussion about the contract, but not because I have decided yet to leave. No, no. My focus is on Brighton this season, the next season.

“But before starting next season I would like to listen to the plan of the team. I think it is a serious thing.”

Despite the defeat, De Zerbi felt his side did as much as they could at Anfield.

“We played against a great team. I think we played well. We played a good game, we conceded too many shots,” he added.

“I think we had the chance to score in the second half, especially in the last 15 minutes, but by then we have to be proud of the performance because playing without seven injured, very important players and competing how we did was great.

“We are sorry for the result, but we showed our best today and we couldn’t do any more.”

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