Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp plays down fears over Mohamed Salah’s ankle problem

Salah’s eighth goal of the season, the winner from the penalty spot, was his 50th in 58 games at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah’s (pictured) ankle problem is not serious, according to manager Jurgen Klopp (Peter Byrne/PA)
Mohamed Salah’s (pictured) ankle problem is not serious, according to manager Jurgen Klopp (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Carl Markham, PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down fears Mohamed Salah had sustained another ankle problem after the Egypt international was substituted in Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Tottenham.

Salah’s eighth goal of the season, the winner from the penalty spot, was his 50th in 58 games at Anfield and only Roger Hunt has reached that half-century quicker.

However, he was replaced five minutes from the end after receiving treatment on the left ankle which he injured against Leicester earlier this month and kept him out of the previous match at Old Trafford.

Salah left the ground walking much easier than when he sustained his sprain against the Foxes and Klopp said the forward, who was unlikely to feature in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Arsenal anyway, was removed as a precaution.

“It’s the ankle, the ankle he has struggled with since the Leicester game,” said the Reds boss.

“It’s good but the longer the game goes the muscles get a bit tired, stuff like this, (and) if you get a knock on it then you feel it more.

“It makes no sense to try to push it through because we had other players, still options to change, and that’s what we did. No, nothing serious.”

Klopp was full of praise for his players after they recovered from conceding a first-minute goal to Harry Kane, moving joint third alongside Martin Chivers on the club’s all-time list after his 178th goal for the club.

After goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga had kept Liverpool at bay with a string of saves in the first half, Reds captain Jordan Henderson equalised with his first Anfield goal since December 2015 before Salah struck from the spot after Sadio Mane was fouled by Serge Aurier.

Liverpool have won six and drawn three of the last 10 league matches at home when they have conceded the first goal, while the win extended their unbeaten league record at Anfield to 45 matches dating back to April 2017.

It restored their six-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table with a ninth win in 10 unbeaten matches.

“I am absolutely pleased, but to be honest, I expect it as well,” added Klopp.

“An early goal is obviously not the best thing that can happen, but sometimes it makes one thing clear: game on.

“The counter-press was exceptional, it was kind of back. I loved that, that was really good.

“I told the boys at half-time; ‘The only problem in this game so far is the result – apart from that, it’s good’.”

By contrast Tottenham have now lost 11 of the last 22 league games and have not kept a clean sheet away from home since winning 3-0 at Cardiff on New Year’s Day, their last league victory outside of London.

“Different phases during the game I think we played well. When we score so early, the team try to defend and we miss a little bit to play,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

“In the first half it was difficult to connect the play and go forward and dominate. When we scored so early it is like we need to defend, defend, defend.

“We need to improve a lot but of course we’re a little bit disappointed. The team is really competitive.

“In this season I think we deserve more points but we didn’t get them so it is the moment to stay strong and keep pushing.”

PA

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