Klopp reassures Salah as Egyptian closes in on club record
The Liverpool forward is just one goal away from equalling Gordon Hodgson’s goals tally in 200 league appearances for the Reds. On Saturday, he will get the chance to equal or break the record.
In terms of goals scored during his Liverpool career, Mohamed Salah is having a relatively discreet campaign compared to previous seasons. But if the Egyptian finds the target in tomorrow’s league game against Wolves at Molineux, he will claim yet another club record. It will be his 200th Premier League appearance for the Reds - a double century of games in which he has scored 125 goals - one short of Gordon Hodgson’s tally in the same number of league games between 1926 and 1931. Salah recently edged past Kenny Dalglish to move into seventh place in the list of Liverpool’s all-time top goal scorers, now he can match, or overtake legendary South African striker Hodgson - the only player in the ranking with a better goal average than him (Hodgson: 1.56, Salah: 1:64).
Salah’s last league goal was in the 1-3 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day and he has found the net just once this year - curiously, against Wolves, in last month’s FA Cup tie.
Klopp however, doesn’t think the Egyptian’s barren run is down to a dip in confidence. “Lost confidence? No, it’s like strikers are, all of them - when it’s going well, it’s going well and in the other moments, you have to go through these periods, I don’t think it is a massive difference,” the manager reasoned. “We spoke last week in the press conference about it, all the changes we made, and we had to make, up front. Each striker benefits from settled things, from patterns everybody knows about. That, for sure, was more of a problem than other stuff, but of course when you don’t score for a while, it’s two things - you might not be on your 100 per cent confidence level, but the desire to do it grows every hour. So that’s it, no problem with him scoring or breaking that record as well. It is a record to be broken. Mo broke a lot [of records] so hopefully he can do that with this as well.”
Luis Díaz up and running
While Klopp’s team have been held back by a chronic and seemingly endless run of injuries, the manager did have positive news concerning winger Luis Díaz. The Colombian has been sidelined with a knee injury since October but is making good progress and Klopp has kept him registered on the Champions League squad list, a sign that he could soon be back in action.
As for the rest, Klopp is hoping that the casualty room will start to clear out over the next couple of weeks as key players return. “Generally it’s looking better,” he explained. “The boys are training, Diogo Jota had a full session with the team this week but then the next day had again a rehab session, not because of the session the day before, just because it was part of the plan. I think he will be back in normal training next week. Bobby is getting closer obviously, very good. Luis is running now, but it will take a few weeks still but he is out on the pitch as well running, which is really good. Ibou’s out... Virgil is getting closer, but not ready for tomorrow’s game. Parts of training, I think, next week as well for Virgil. I think there is nothing else so far, but there’s still two hours until training so a lot can happen. Ibou has a muscle injury and again, he didn’t think it was massive, it happened in the game, I asked him after the game, ‘Are you OK?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK.’ After the game he had treatment, scan, bam, out... The [central defence] partnership? It’s not cool, you don’t want to have those changes. Again, you want to make changes when you rotate and bring everyone together in a perfect moment but Joey and Joel obviously have played together before so it’s not a massive problem but it’s not perfect”.
Liverpool go into the Wolves game ninth in the Premier League table on 29 points - 10 points adrift of the Champions League places and with just two wins from their last five away games.
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