Klopp plays down Salah reaction after substituting top striker


London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp has played down any potential fallout following Mohamed Salah’s show of displeasure after his substitution in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.

The Egypt international made no secret of his annoyance at being withdrawn just after the hour mark at Anfield on Thursday as the champions slipped to a fifth successive home league defeat for the first time in their history.

Liverpool are languishing in seventh place in the Premier League and are four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s home game against lowly Fulham.

Klopp said he could not make substitutions on the basis of what reaction it created, adding he took off the Premier League’s leading scorer because he thought he was feeling the intensity of the game.

“I’m not even sure if this situation is now a reason for a ‘proper talk’ about it,” he said on Friday.

“We are 1-0 down, that makes no player happy. You go off and you react in different ways because you are not happy.

“You get subbed, you are a striker and you think you should stay on the pitch. That’s all completely clear and not an issue, it is just normal life.”

Klopp said managers were forced to make quick judgements on the basis of what they saw on the pitch.

“We make these decisions in the moment and not with any thoughts in behind, the problem only is you only have to explain it after the game and the day after the game,” he said.

“These kind of stories (rumours of unhappiness) so far didn’t happen. I cannot guarantee for the future and for all times it will never happen but these kind of discussions we never had.”

Salah has scored 17 Premier League goals this season and needs only one more to register 25 for the campaign in all competitions for the third time in four seasons at Anfield.

Previously his tally has been supplemented by significant contributions from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino but his fellow forwards are well short of their usual numbers.

Mane has just 11 in all competitions and Firmino six, while Diogo Jota, who made his comeback against Chelsea after three months out with a knee injury, has nine goals.

“We all have to improve,” said Klopp. “Mo still has a great scoring record and I am sure everyone knows and he knows himself even he could have scored more goals.

“But that, Mo’s goalscoring, is not our problem. But in general we have to improve, 100 percent.”

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