Klopp defends Salah, says Firmino fit to face Saints


(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says he has no concern over Egypt striker Mohamed Salah’s form ahead of Saturday’s match against Southampton.

Salah has not scored in his last three Liverpool outings and some observers have suggested he looks short of full fitness and sharpness.

The former AS Roma forward has scored twice in five games — just one fewer than at this stage last season.

FILE PHOTO - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 15, 2018 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates a goal which is later disallowed for offside Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
FILE PHOTO - Champions League Final - Real Madrid v Liverpool - NSC Olympic Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine - May 26, 2018 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah reacts with manager Juergen Klopp as he is substituted after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Phil Noble

“Wow, that’s a crisis,” joked Klopp who went on to outline his satisfaction with Salah’s contributions to what has been a 100 percent start to the campaign for Liverpool.

“On the defensive side the last two games he was outstanding, perfect, and it is so important in these games especially — so that says everything about him: that he is really ready to work for the team in these moments.

“It is a completely normal situation for an offensive player that they have times when they don’t score. But he is still a threat, has fantastic situations in both games and he is in a good shape,” said Klopp.

Salah suffered a shoulder injury in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid which hampered him during the World Cup and he is still wearing some strapping around the area.

“The most important thing is physically he is in a very good shape, which helps,” said Klopp.

“Salah is really ready to work for the team and it is a normal situation to have times where you don’t score,” added the German.

“He is just taking his time this year, just like he did last season.”

Roberto Firmino, who scored the winner against Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, after coming off the bench, will be fit to face the Saints at Anfield, said Klopp.

Firmino started as substitute due to an eye injury he picked up in last week’s win against Spurs at Wembley but that appears to have healed quickly.

“Yes, he is ready… so far there is no reason to think about Bobby, it’s about thinking about how can we line up in general differently,” said the former Dortmund manager.

Daniel Sturridge started against PSG in place of Firmino and scored the opening goal as part of an impressive return to the side.

“It’s just positive the impact Daniel had (against PSG). It was an intense game, it was a fantastic game from him, to be honest, so that’s the best news and so now we know more about that,” said Klopp, who suggested the English forward could also play alongside Firmino in the future.

“There are a lot of games to come and these two boys can play together as well — they did in the past, by the way, and they can do it again,” he said.

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