'The numbers speak': Jurgen Klopp picks out Mohamed Salah for praise

Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Sheffield United on Sunday. The Reds’ boss clearly loves his no.11.

What a strange season for Liverpool. That’s probably putting it wrong.

What a terrible season for Liverpool. This was supposed to be the historic title defence after the historic title win. Instead, we’re busy hoping for a top-four finish.

It’s all a bit of a shock, too – the Reds were top at Christmas. Now they’re sixth and out of the title race. We do blame injuries.

Not that injuries are the entire problem. For instance, of the players who have stayed fit, it’s difficult to say who has played well.

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The alarming thing has been the attack. We’ve seen game after game where Liverpool control a team but fail to score. That’s been the main problem since Christmas.

Maybe that’s a creativity problem, maybe it’s a confidence problem. But as Jurgen Klopp points out, it certainly isn’t a Mohamed Salah problem.

“It’s just a bit awkward when I have to praise my own players, which I like to do to be honest, but especially in Mo’s case, the numbers speak for themselves,” said Klopp, per the Liverpool Echo.

“Mo is not only a goalscorer, he has developed as a footballer as well.

“He is a very, very important player for us and hopefully he will be that for a very long time of course.”

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This is Salah’s worst season at Liverpool. He’s also the Premier League’s top scorer. Maybe that says it all.

Even when he’s not playing at his absolutely best, Salah is still a world-class threat and capable of winning games. Liverpool’s primary problem is that the description doesn’t fit anyone else.

No other player steps up to win a game if Salah doesn’t – certainly not with any reliability. He’s the only one you can even half rely on right now.

As we said, Liverpool have had an awful 2021. They’ve won just four games, two of which were in the Premier League.

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Yet Salah has eight goals in 12 games since the turn of the year. Before the Everton defeat, he was on a run of seven goals in seven games.

Salah’s eight in 2021 would have him third in Liverpool’s top scorers list, one behind Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota. That’s quite mad.

So Klopp is absolutely right to praise the Egyptian. He’s been the bright spark for Liverpool at a time when things look very dark.

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