Salah Can shut critics up: Klopp

Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah celebrating with Senegalese striker Sadio Mane after scoring their second goal in the Champions League match against Red Star at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah celebrating with Senegalese striker Sadio Mane after scoring their second goal in the Champions League match against Red Star at Anfield on Wednesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Egypt ace finding form with 50th Reds goal, while boss also lauds Fabinho in 4-0 win over Red Star

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp hopes the scrutiny over Mohamed Salah's form will stop after he became the fastest Liverpool player to reach 50 goals.

The Egyptian forward scored twice, including a penalty, in the 4-0 Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield on Wednesday to achieve his half-century in only 65 games.

Albert Stubbins, who held the previous mark, did so in 77 games for the Reds from 1946 to 1948.

Salah took his tally for the season to six, with three in his last two games, and there are signs that he is starting to find, if not yet his sensational 44-goal form of last term.

Klopp has repeatedly stressed he has not been concerned about Salah's performances, which have been lukewarm by his high standards. After the match, the German insisted that the milestone was enough to silence his doubters.

"It's good that we maybe can stop talking about that,"said the 51-year-old.

"That helps a little bit because I'm not in doubt, he (Salah) was not in doubt but, if you are constantly asked about it, then it's like something obviously is wrong.

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It's an exceptional number, hopefully he can continue. He would say thanks to his teammates because it's quite difficult to score goals without these wonderful passes, crosses.

JURGEN KLOPP, on Mohamed Salah reaching 50 goals in just 65 games.

"You should not constantly think about it. It only happens if you work hard, if you are in the right space, if your teammates see you in the right moments and, if you make the right runs, then you can score.

"It's an exceptional number, hopefully he can continue.

"He would say thanks to his teammates because it's quite difficult to score goals without these wonderful passes, crosses.

"Like tonight, I have to watch it back, but the first goal he scored was just a genius little link-up play by (Xherdan) Shaqiri, I don't know how he did that."

While Salah's goal celebrations were muted against the Serbian outfit, Klopp was adamant that his only issue was with his 73rd-minute substitution, with the Reds holding an unassailable 3-0 lead.

"He is completely fine. If he's not celebrating, maybe he's a bit annoyed about getting asked about it. I saw him celebrating, but I couldn't see his face from that distance," he added.

The Liverpool manager also reserved praise for Fabinho, who impressed in only his second start since his £40 million (S$71 million) summer arrival from Monaco and joked that he had tweaked his system to accommodate the Brazil midfielder as a "birthday present".

"It (the gift) was that we played his favourite system with the double six," Klopp said of Fabinho, who turned 25 on Tuesday.

"He played really well, good to see, very aggressive, everything was there. That was the start. Now he has to carry on."

It was a good evening for the other two members of Liverpool's "Fab Three", with Roberto Firmino opening the scoring and Sadio Mane making amends for missing a second spot kick with the fourth.

The result put Liverpool on top of Group C, but Klopp will know two wins against Red Star are a minimum requirement if the Reds are to qualify for the knockout stages.

"It was just a good football game and they (Liverpool's front three) could finish the situations because we had the right movement in the right moment, we had the right passes, we had the right formation," said the Reds boss.

"You cannot win a game 4-0 if most of the things are not really good and, tonight, most of the things were really good.

"This group obviously stays exciting until the end, that was I thought pretty clear immediately after the draw, but you cannot do more than win your own games, and then, the situation changes in your favour."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'Salah Can shut critics up: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe