Sunday, January 26, 2020

Salah now back to full fitness – Klopp

SoccerNews in English Premier League 7 Dec 2019

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Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is finally back to “100 per cent” fitness, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Egypt international scored the final goal of Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth as they clocked up their 15th victory out of 16 Premier League fixtures this term.

It was Salah’s 63rd strike in his 100th Premier League appearance, and only three players – Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) – have bettered that tally in their first century of games.

Salah had been struggling with an ankle problem since a clash with Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury back in October, but Klopp is confident the player is now fully fit.

“He looks now 100 per cent,” Klopp said in his post-match news conference after the win over the Cherries.

“It’s long ago that he got that knock, but you carry things like this with you when have game after game after game. Mo was absolutely strong.”

Meanwhile, Klopp urged his Liverpool defence to follow up their first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions with another when they play in a crunch Champions League match next week.

European champions Liverpool head to Salzburg, where they know a point will be enough to return to the last 16.

Klopp added: “I forgot how a clean sheet feels, to be honest. It’s great, we should have them more often. 

“It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys, ‘clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet’. Obviously, everybody was desperate for that. Now we have it, so let’s have it more often. 

“The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner – against Salzburg on Tuesday.”

Bournemouth have been beaten in each of their past five games, and Cherries boss Eddie Howe lamented the loss of two more players from his already injury-stricken squad.

Defender Nathan Ake and striker Callum Wilson were both taken off with apparent hamstring injuries and will be assessed by the club’s medical team over the next few days.

“The squad is stretched,” Howe said. “It is there to cope with the injuries, but the difficulty for us is we are getting injuries but not getting players back.

“The mentality of the group is strong but damaged in confidence. We can always do better. We can always question ourselves and say we could have done better, but the quality of the opposition was very strong.”

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