Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Mohamed Salah after being asked if the winger is underappreciated at the club, with team-mates Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino often being singled out for helping the Reds in their campaign this season.
Salah managed the incredible feat of scoring 44 goals in his debut season for Liverpool and then followed this up with 27 goals last season.
The 27-year-old is currently two goals shy of finding the back of the net 20 times this season.
With 13 games remaining in the Premier League, along with Liverpool’s Champions League campaign and the FA Cup, Salah will have ample opportunities to surpass the milestone.
If he does, then he will be the first Liverpool player to score more than 20 goals in three consecutive seasons since Michael Owen achieved the feat between 2000 and 2003.
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But Salah was piped by team-mate Sadio Mane to the African Player of the year award in 2019 and Roberto Firmino’s value to the club has often been talked about by pundits and other managers.
However, Klopp left no doubt about how much he and the club value Salah’s contributions.
“Underappreciated? I don’t feel that to be honest, the poor boy, everyone knows him still,” Klopp said.
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“If he scored 44 goals in three successive seasons then that would have been really cool and maybe we would have won the league last year!
“For the player, he is an exceptional character and he will never stop really.
“He wants to play and I am not sure how many games he has missed but that is just him.
“He is and became a natural goalscorer, that is how it is.
“I have no clue if he goes under the radar because he doesn’t for us, obviously.
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“This week we speak about Mo, maybe the week before it was Bobby (Firmino) and there are moments for sure when we spoke about Sadio (Mane).
“There were moments maybe when two of them were not in the firing mood that much but the other one finished the situations off for us.
“These kind of numbers are exceptional but it is not over yet so we don’t really have to think about it.”
Liverpool could be without Salah at the beginning of next season as Egypt would like him to be a part of their team at the Olympics.
Salah could be one of Egypt’s three older players including in the under-23 squad.
FIFA has said that clubs are not obliged to release over-age players for the games in Tokyo and Egypt coach Shawky Gharib has said the decision over Salah’s involvement will lie with Liverpool.
Klopp hasn’t ruled out Salah’s involvement but wants more information before making a decision, as it could mean him missing pre-season friendlies and the start of next season’s Premier League.
“We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information,” Klopps said.
“How will it look, when will the preparations start, all that stuff.
“No decision yet, but we will see.”
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