There was an incident on Liverpool’s bench that led to the Mohamed Salah substitution, according to one journalist. It explains Jurgen Klopp’s controversial decision.
The Mohamed Salah substitution was a major talking point from yesterday’s game against Chelsea. It didn’t appear to make much sense.
Why would Jurgen Klopp take off the Premier League’s top goal scorer when the Reds need a goal? Especially when he’s never taken Salah off that early.
Klopp subbed Salah on 62 minutes – the Egyptian’s earliest exit. This was an unusual decision and a controversial one.
After all, neither Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino played well. They were both worse than Salah, arguably. They certainly have been this season.
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Yet with Liverpool struggling to score, off went 17-goal Salah.
So, why? Well, journalist Matt Critchley offers an explanation after witnessing an incident on Liverpool’s bench.
“Salah not happy at being taken off,” he tweeted. “Shaking his head as walked to the bench.
“But 5 mins ago Klopp was screaming at him to track back & help out defensively – he was a long way off.
“Bit of a half-hearted jog. Klopp turned to [Pep] Ljinders almost straight away & they discussed replacing him.”
That explains things, then. Klopp either didn’t like Salah’s effort levels or had an issue with his mentality. If he won’t track back, Liverpool have issues.
We don’t think effort levels were the issue, though. Stats show that Salah pressed 10 times in Chelsea’s third – more than anyone else in Red, despite him only playing an hour.
But Salah also didn’t apply pressure in Liverpool’s third once. Both Mane and Firmino did – it’s hard to judge things on this stat, though. The Egyptian could have pressed once in the final 30 minutes if he’d stayed on, and everything would look identical.
The only thing we know for sure, assuming Critchley is accurate, is that Klopp wasn’t happy. Salah didn’t provide what the boss asked for and that’s a problem.
It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Klopp forgives him. We can’t afford to see Salah leaving the field early every game – not in this kind of form.