Klopp hails prolific Salah after Liverpool milestone

Jurgen Klopp said he was not surprised to see Mohamed Salah become the first Liverpool player to score at least 20 goals in four straight seasons since club great Ian Rush after the Egyptian netted twice in Sunday’s 3-1 win over West Ham United.

Salah’s double took his tally for the season to 21 in all competitions and manager Klopp said the forward had an incredible appetite for goals.

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“I’m not surprised. I work on a daily basis together with him (Salah) and he’ll never stop having a massive desire for scoring goals,” Klopp told reporters.

‘Mo Salah, world class’ – Klopp raves about forward after brace

Salah cut in to curl home with his left foot in the 57th minute on Sunday for his first league goal since Dec. 19, ending a run of six Premier League games without a goal.

He doubled his team’s advantage with a close-range finish 11 minutes later.

“He is a world-class player, there’s no doubt about that. How I said in the last few weeks when we didn’t score that many, the only thing you can do is try and try and try again. You have to make good decisions, or better decisions,” Klopp added.

“Tonight he didn’t force it. The first goal was a smart goal and in the last few weeks he probably would have tried to shoot through the legs, but this was really keeping the overview and chipping the ball into the far corner. Top-class goal.”

Rush netted 20 or more goals in six campaigns from 1981 through to 1987.

Liverpool, who are third and trail leaders Manchester City by four points, host Brighton & Hove Albion in the league on Wednesday.

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'In my opinion it's killed the game' – Salah takes swipe at VAR

Mohamed Salah has taken a swipe at VAR, with the Liverpool forward claiming it is killing the game.

Salah scored twice for Liverpool in their 3-1 win at West Ham on Sunday – the second time in three games he has netted a brace to signal a return to form.

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The victory at West Ham secured back-to-back wins for the Reds to revive their title hopes, but they are four points behind Manchester City having played a game more due in part to a poor run of form in the post-Christmas period.

That was a time when Salah went six league games without a goal, and he has suggested VAR had something to do with his and his side’s slump.

“I think before, I don’t like VAR!” Salah told Sky Sports.

“From the beginning of the season, in my opinion it’s killed the game. You have to be exactly the right side of the line [on offside decisions].

In other countries it’s OK. I don’t want to get a fine but it’s my opinion. I don’t like VAR.

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Salah’s goals were a landmark moment for the Egyptian, as in scoring twice he became the first player to net more than 20 goals in all competitions in four consecutive seasons for Liverpool since Ian Rush in the 1980s.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted with the forward’s display.

“The goal itself was brilliant so it was a sign that things were clicking again and today he played a super game,” Klopp said. “His passing and control was brilliant throughout and for the first goal, I don’t think [West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz] Fabianski could see it. It was super smart.

For the second, there were two passes before Mo got the ball. His touch was first-class and it was a superb finish. Two outstanding goals. I’m not surprised with Mo. I work on a daily basis with him and he will always have a massive desire to score goals.

‘Mo Salah, world class’ – Klopp raves about forward after brace

“He’s a world-class player, there’s no doubt about that. In the past couple of weeks when we didn’t score that many, the only thing you can do when you’re not scoring is to keep trying to make better decisions. Tonight, we didn’t force it. He scored top-class goals.”

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'Mo Salah, world class' – Klopp raves about forward after brace

Football

Liverpool reaction video: ‘Mo Salah, world class’ – Jurgen Klopp raves about forward after brace

Jurgen Klopp praised two-goal hero Mohamed Salah after he ended his six-game run without a Premier League goal with a brilliant brace against West Ham during a 3-1 win for Liverpool on Sunday. “The last pass was obviously spectacular from Shaq, the first touch from Mo outstanding, outstanding, world-class and then nice finish. Top game, top goals”

00:00:41, 21 views, 22 minutes ago

Klopp coy on Liverpool transfer links with Ben Davies

Jurgen Klopp evaded questions about the prospect of Liverpool signing Ben Davies from Preston, but confirmed the search continues for a new central defender.

With just one day remaining in the January transfer window, Klopp is hunting a central defender to ease the problems in that department for the Reds.

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With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees, and Joel Matip and Fabinho suffering niggling problems, Klopp has been forced to plug gaps with unlikely sources.

Jordan Henderson has performed well when asked to drop into the centre of defence, but Klopp wants a new recruit and they have been linked with Davies.

The 25-year-old is also a target for Celtic, but Liverpool are now in the frame – albeit Klopp would not confirm it following the Reds’ 3-1 win over West Ham.

“Ben Davies plays for Tottenham right?” Klopp said with a smile on his face when asked by Sky Sports about the link. “Nothing to say on that.

“I have said it all the time, in our situation it makes sense [to sign a centre-back].

By the way Nate Phillips played an excellent game today. Milly (James Milner) and Hendo (Jordan Henderson) had better be careful as if they keep playing like that they may play there for the rest of their careers.

“Our eyes are always open and we try and fix our situation. If we can do it, I don’t know. If we can’t and we play tonight it’s not a problem. The problem is if something else happens and then we become a bit short.”

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Salah scores brace as Liverpool down West Ham

Mo Salah’s double helped Liverpool to a 3-1 victory at West Ham United which suggests their Premier League defence is still very much alive.

Liverpool controlled the first half without creating clear chances but the introduction of substitute Curtis Jones immediately gave the Reds an impetus as he passed to Salah in the right hand side of the box and curled inside the far post in typical fashion.

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The second goal was a sublime counter-attack goal as Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball across the field to Xherdan Shaqiri who first time curled the ball behind the West Ham defence and Salah took the ball down beautifully with his right foot before slipping past Lukasz Fabianski with his left.

Georginho Wijnaldum made it three after substitute Roberto Firmino squared the ball to him six yards out and then Craig Dawson poked home a corner from close range for a consolation.

Liverpool rise to third in the table, four points behind Manchester City, although they have played a game more.

Talking point – Jones could be a key part of Liverpool’s next midfield

As good a player as Thiago is, there is some truth in him not fitting into the way Liverpool have previously been set up to play.

Since his arrival, sometimes Liverpool have been a team that has passed and kept the ball without a cutting edge.

In this match, this changed when Curtis Jones came on for James Milner, whose upset at coming off was quickly dissipated within a minute by the youngster’s involvement in their opening goal.

Jones’ driving runs committing defenders is a good foil to Thiago’s sublime passing making it impossible for defenders to just sit off.

Personnel in top sides often has to evolve for them to remain dominant – midfields like Manchester United at the turn of the century and Barcelona ten years later are probably outliers in their consistent make-up – and Thiago, Jones and Henderson (when defensive availability makes this possible) could be a midfield that helps Liverpool get back to their level of last year.

Man of the Match – Mo Salah

There was more pressure on him today with Sadio Mane injured and Firmino not fit enough to start and for the first half he was a bit of a frustrated figure as the Liverpool midfield struggled to find a way to get him clear chances.

When it mattered though, he delivered in the manner he has in each of his four seasons with Liverpool.

The first goal was the type he has scored more of than any player in Premier League history. Drawing three men to him on the right hand side of the area, he used the defenders in front of him as a shield for the goalkeeper who then could only watch as his left-footer curler nestles just inside the far post.

The second a marvellous team goal with just four perfect touches needed to bring the ball 80 yards and nestle in the West Ham net, but the third of these, from him, was the best of these bringing down Shaqiri’s forty-yard high curling ball in swirling wet and windy conditions with his right foot, gifting himself the easy task of finishing.

Player ratings:

Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 7, Phillips 7, Henderson 7, Robertson 6, Wijnaldum 7, Milner 6, Thiago 7, Shaqiri 7, Salah 8*, Origi 6.

Subs: Jones 8, Firmino 7, Chamberlain 7.

West Ham United: Fabianski 7, Coufal 6, Dawson 7, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 6, Rice 7, Soucek 6, Fornals 5, Bowen 6, Benrahma 5, Antonio 6.

Subs: Yarmolenko 5, Noble 6, Fredericks 6.

Match highlights:

57′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Salah cuts in on his left foot and curls an effort inside the far post. Jones was twice involved in the build-up. Good substitution!

68′ WHAT A GOAL! As good a counter-attack goal as you will see. Jones plays a cross-field ball for Shaqiri who hits a first time curling ball for Salah who controls sublimely and then delicately slips the ball past Fabianski.

84′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Fantastic link up between Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino who unselfishly squares the ball for Wijnaldum to slot home from the centre of the six-yard box.

87′ GOAL FOR WEST HAM! Finally a set piece comes through for West Ham. The corner is inadvertently flicked on by Robertson at the front post and Dawson side-foots home from six yards out.

Key Stat:

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Liverpool get back in the goals to down Tottenham

Roberto Firmino helped end Liverpool’s goal drought as the champions returned to winning ways with a much-needed 3-1 victory at rivals Tottenham.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds had seen their title challenge seemingly wilt following a five-game winless run in the league, but they started to find their feet again on the stroke of half time when the Brazilian snared his sixth of the campaign to end the Merseysiders’ 482-minute barren run.

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Spurs had seen an early goal from Heung-Min Son ruled out by VAR and their hopes were further hit when the injured Harry Kane was withdrawn at the break.

A lively start to the second period saw Trent Alexander Arnold rifle in a rebound to double the away side’s lead before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg reduced the arrears moments later with a 25-yard thunderbolt.

Mo Salah then had a goal harshly ruled out by VAR before Sadio Mane ghosted in to convert a cross from Alexander Arnold to deservedly seal the points for the visitors.

The victory moves Liverpool up to fourth place, four points off leaders Manchester City having played a game more. Tottenham, who suffered a first loss in nine matches, stay sixth.

Liverpool will hope to build on the win when they visit fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, while Spurs are at struggling Brighton.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool re-kindle their attacking mojo, but this needs to be just a starting point. The critics have posed serious questions of Liverpool’s forwards in recent weeks and they finally responded in a major showdown with one of their fellow title challengers. The front three all played a significant role in this victory, which will be vitally important for their belief ahead of a key run of fixtures. Tottenham were far from their best, but the Reds looked more like their old selves, particularly when linking in the final third. There was more zip in their play once they had broken the deadlock and they could have scored more on another day. VAR had its moments, but didn’t really affect the outcome.

If the Reds are to seriously fight their way back into the mix with Man City and Co, this will need to be just the start given the tricky sequence of matches that await them in the coming weeks. However, there were more defensive woes for Klopp to ponder as Joel Matip again had to make way at the break. Fabinho was also ruled out ahead of kick off, which means the Liverpool boss faces further headaches over who will feature at centre back from match to match, given the club have so far insisted they aren’t going to sign someone in the window.

Jose Mourinho will be frustrated by his side’s overall display, but his major concern will be over the fitness of Kane, particularly given how little threat they posed to the likes of Nat Phillips in a tepid second half without their talismanic hitman.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool). The young full back was one of a number of Liverpool players who produced their best showing in a while. Grabbed his first goal of the season and conjured up a lovely assist to cap a fine all-action display.

PLAYER RATINGS

TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6, Rodon 5, Dier 6, Davies 6, Aurier 6, Doherty 6, Ndombele 6, Hojbjerg 7, Bergwijn 6, Kane 6, Son 6. Subs: Winks 6, Lamela 5, Bale n/a.

LIVERPOOL: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 8, Matip 6, Henderson 8, Robertson 7, Milner 7, Thiago 7, Wijnaldum 7, Firmino 8, Salah 8, Mane 8. Subs: Phillips 7, Jones 6, Origi n/a.

Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

Roberto Firmino of Liverpool (R) celebrates with Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Mane is clear in the penalty area but somehow steers his fizzing shot wide of Lloris’ right-hand post.

3’ – TOTTENHAM GOAL RULED OUT! Son shows Mane how to do it as he coolly steers his shot beyond Alisson after a one-two with Kane. VAR checks and rules that the forward was offside. Still goalless.

45+4’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 0-1 Liverpool. Firmino can’t miss from two yards out after Mane had latched on to Henderson’s pass on the left side of the box and rolled it into the Brazilian’s path.

47’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool. Alexander Arnold drills the rebound into the far corner after Lloris had made a real meal of Mane’s low shot.

49’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool. Spurs are right back in it as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg rifles a first-time 25-yard drive into the corner.

56’ – LIVERPOOL GOAL RULED OUT! The Reds think they have restored their two-goal cushion. Salah thunders Mane’s pass beyond Lloris but VAR checks a hand ball from Firmino in the build up and Martin Atkinson rules it out after looking at the pitch-side monitor. Dier appeared to foul and Firmino and handle the ball prior to that….

65’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 1-3 Liverpool. Mane smashes a rising shot beyond Lloris after Rodon failed to cut out Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

KEY STATS

Firmino’s opening goal was Liverpool’s first in the Premier League since December (Mane vs West Brom), ending the Reds’ run of 482 minutes and 93 shots without scoring in the competition.

Højbjerg’s goal was his first for Tottenham in 30 appearances in all competitions; only Leeds (8) have scored more Premier League goals from outside the box this season than Spurs (7).

With five goals and 16 assists, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more goals than any other Premier League defender since the start of last season.

Mourinho has lost six of his 23 home league games in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, more than he has at any of his previous clubs.

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Klopp says Liverpool are driven to prove critics wrong

“Jurgen Klopp claims Liverpool are “on fire to strike back” to criticism of their form, having failed to record any victories in their last five Premier League matches. The champions head to Tottenham on Thursday night, with Klopp attempting to find the winning formula which will make them “the team nobody wants to play against”.”

Bruno y Rashford se aprovechan del Liverpool

Bruno Fernandes lleva 28 goles con el Manchester United y todavía no se ha cumplido un año de su llegada a Old Trafford. El portugués es un futbolista excelso, brillante, capaz de cambiar la cara de un equipo, como ha demostrado en Inglaterra. Casi siempre como titular, aunque enchufado si es suplente: lo fue contra el Liverpool en la FA Cup, porque algún día tiene que descansar, pero salió y no tardó en dejar su sello. Cogió una falta en la frontal y la mandó al palo largo, sorprendiendo a Alisson y clavando el 3-2 en un frenético duelo copero.

Escudo/Bandera M. United

Antes, el partido había sido para Rashford, otro que come en la misma mesa. El canterano de los diablos rojos lleva a hombros el peso del club desde hace tiempo, pero lo aguanta. Su exhibición ante los ‘reds’ tuvo dos momentos brillantes en la primera parte: la asistencia a Greenwood en el 1-1, un envío largo desde el centro del campo, y el gol que marcó aprovechando el error del joven Rhys Williams, que no acertó a despejar. También destacó Cavani como delantero centro, pero Van de Beek no aprovechó su oportunidad de inicio.

Escudo/Bandera Liverpool

El Liverpool se presentó ante los de Solskjaer en plena crisis de resultados. No han marcado ningún gol en la Premier League en 2021 y los único cuatro tantos que han sumado fueron en la ronda anterior contra un Aston Villa plagado de juveniles. Salah hizo dos goles –suma 19 en total esta temporada–, primero un 0-1 y luego un 2-2, pero el Manchester United supo reaccionar en dos ocasiones.

Liverpool to prioritise Van Dijk deal over Salah, as Rice emerges as option

Liverpool are to prioritise a new contract for Virgil van Dijk despite Mo Salah angling for fresh terms to guarantee his future at Anfield.

Earlier in the season Salah flirted with the possibility of joining Barcelona or Real Madrid. On Monday, in an interview with a Norwegian TV channel, Salah was asked about his future again and said: “I don’t know. If you ask me, I say I want to stay here as long as I can, but as I’ve said before, it’s in the club’s hands.”

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His comments are being read as him pushing for an improved contract but the club are expected to stick to their clear planning when it comes to contract and transfer deals for 2021.

Van Dijk is working on his rehabilitation from a cruciate knee ligament injury and the plan is to announce him on a new contract by the summer. He is still on the same terms as when he joined Liverpool in 2018 and the club have always planned to offer an improved deal this season. There are even some suggestions that an agreement in principle over terms had been made before his injury, but the situation will be revisited in the coming weeks.

That new deal is almost certain to eclipse the current basic deal of Salah, who earns around £200,000-a-week and is the club’s highest earner. Liverpool will begin to more seriously consider his situation once Van Dijk is signed up but will not be pressured into a new deal, particularly as there has been no concrete interest from any clubs in signing him. His contract expires in 2023.

New defender unlikely, but Rice a possible option

West Ham United’s Declan Rice during the Premier League match between Everton and West Ham United

Image credit: Getty Images

Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group owners pride themselves on ensuring they make calculated business decisions and that is reflected in transfers as well as contracts.

There has been plenty of expectation that they would sign a central defender in this window but the message from sources inside Anfield has been that they are very unlikely to do so.

They have been scouting though and have a shortlist of players that they would be ready to turn to if their situation at the back reached crisis point. Jurgen Klopp has so far managed the spate of injuries by changing the roles of players like Fabinho, who will also be in line for a new deal at the end of the season, and Jordan Henderson.

A panic buy or quick fix in the coming days would be a big surprise despite the fact Liverpool’s title defence is in danger and they have just been beaten 1-0 at home to Burnley.

Instead, the club are expected to carefully plot signings for the summer window in line with the impact of Covid-19 on their financial situation—when a centre-back will be high on the agenda.

A Gini Wijnaldum replacement could also materialise, as there has been no contract breakthrough and he looks set to leave as a free agent.

One early name to look out for as a potential target in that area is West Ham’s Declan Rice.

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Firmino genera dudas en el tridente del Liverpool

De reinar en Europa y en Inglaterra a que se cuestione su final. El tridente que forman Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino y Mo Salah está recibiendo críticas ante la falta de gol de las últimas semanas.

Sin gol, se atrancan las victorias. Desde el 0-7 ante el Crystal Palace hace justo un mes, los reds empataron a uno contra el West Brom, a cero contra el Newcastle y perdieron contra el Southampton, sin hacerle un gol a los de Hasenhüttl. De lo mismo pecaron en el derbi ante el Manchester United. Solskajer levantó la muralla y los muchachos de Klopp no fueron capaces de romperla. Oportunidades, eso si, no faltaron.

Varios tuvieron la suya pero Firmino, las dos mejores. El brasileño no fue capaz de resolver con eficacia en ninguna de las dos y este, ahora, está en el centro de las críticas. Tanto, que Jamie Carragher, mítico capitán del Liverpool y ahora comentarista en Sky Sports, asegura que de tener que romperse el tridente sería por la parte del brasileño. “Confío en que Mane y Salah vuelvan a marcar pero estoy preocupado por Firmino. Nunca ha sido el goleador, ya que es la responsabilidad de los otros dos, pero tiene que estar para ayudar. Cuando no estén marcando, tiene que ser una amenaza mayor”, afirma el exdefensor inglés.

Para Carragher, Firmino será el que antes salga de Liverpool para recomponer el ataque con un nuevo elemento. Según él, su nivel está descendiendo. “A nivel de juego ha bajado y también a nivel de presión. No me refiero ya esta temporada, también la anterior cuando ganó la Liga. Ya me preocupaba y me preguntaba si podría darle la vuelta. Él es el que más me preocupa y, si alguno tuviera que salir antes que los demás, creo que será Firmino. Antes o después, ese tridente se romperá”, recalca.

Sus datos han ido en descenso. Su mejor temporada la firmó en la 17/18 con 27 goles y 17 asistencias aunque quedándose sin premio en la final de la Champions ante el Real Madrid. En la 18/19 triunfaron en Europa pero sus números se resintieron con 16 tantos y ocho pases de gol aunque triunfando como pegamento de ambos extremos. En la 19/20 se quedó en 12 goles y 13 asistencias para alzarse con la Premier y esta campaña, suma apenas cinco tantos y tres pases de gol, todos en la Premier League.

Carragher pone el dedo en la edad (“Cualquier atacante ya no juega igual de bien al final de los 20”) y los números le señalan. El tridente entre los africanos y el brasileño que tantas alegrías ha llevado a Anfield está a examen...