Jurgen Klopp offered his own perspective on the Mohamed Salah substitution against Sunday. The sub was a real talking point.
Taking off the Premier League’s top scorer when you’re chasing a goal will raise eyebrows. It’ll also dominate discussion, have people ask questions of you, and create demand for an explanation.
In short, it’s a strange thing to do.
But that’s why Jurgen Klopp did as he took Mohamed Salah off with a 62nd-minute substitution. That’s the earliest he’s ever taken the Egyptian off.
And he did it as Liverpool chased a goal to end their horrendous run of home form. It felt like the wrong player went off at the wrong time.
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So why did Klopp do it? Well, he’s offered an explanation for the sub.
“We are 1-0 down, that makes no player happy. You go off and you react in different ways because you are not happy,” he said, per the BBC.
“In the situation when you make a decision like that [Salah] looked, for me, like he felt the intensity. He probably saw it completely differently and that is completely fine.”
What RTK has to say
Well, this corroborates what Matt Critchley claimed he saw at Anfield.
“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.”
Klopp didn’t like Salah’s tracking back. Now, was that a lack of effort or was the player just tired? The boss’s explanation makes it sound like the latter.
Critchley’s, though, certainly sounds like the former.
As for where we go from here, it’s obvious – Salah starts every game as Liverpool search for wins. There’s no other options.
Klopp may have an issue with his defensive work or intensity but, really, Liverpool can’t afford to drop him. Hopefully, then, this was a one-off.