The Egyptian superstar endured a frustrating evening despite the Reds running out two-goal victors in Lisbon as Jurgen Klopp addressing the player’s performance
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted Mohamed Salah is going through a “tough period” after he missed several chances in Tuesday’s Champions League victory at Benfica.
Goals from Ibrahima Konate, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz were enough for Klopp’s side who had to endure a second-half storm from the Portuguese hosts, for whom Darwin Nunez was on target in the quarter-final first leg. However, Salah did not have his strongest evening and missed several chances for the Reds before being substituted off just after the hour mark.
It came in the aftermath of former Reds star John Aldridge claiming Salah’s body language “wasn’t great” in his side’s 2-0 win over Watford, and puts it down to the Egyptian not being “mentally” on the pitch due to being so upset. Last week, Salah’s Egypt side failed to qualify for the World Cup following a penalty shootout defeat by Senegal. After the match, Egypt sports minister Ashraf Sobhi had a conversation with Salah in which he told him to leave Liverpool.
However, Reds top scorer Salah is believed to be on the verge of ending months of speculation by agreeing on a new deal at Anfield which will see him remain at the club for the peak years of his career. That led to Sobhi admitting that Salah had informed him that his intention was to remain on Merseyside and pen a new deal at the club.
Klopp admitted after Tuesday’s win in Lisbon that the return from international duty and volume of matches had taken its toll on the player, but he played down concerns that this will develop into an ongoing issue. The Reds boss said: “Every player in that situation wants to score and it’s clear Mo wants to score as well. It’s a tough period, the boys came back from Africa, that’s really not easy. Massive pressure. They need some time to settle, everything will be fine.”
The German then turned his attention to his side’s wastefulness during their win in Lisbon, despite netting three goals. It was the late goal from Diaz which gave them a two-goal advantage and breathing space ahead of the second leg at Anfield. Klopp added: “In the end, we should’ve score more in the first half, we could’ve scored more in the second half, the goalie was probably their best player. He made a couple of really good saves. We won it, two goals up, half-time, not more not less, let’s keep going. We could’ve scored more of course. With the situations we had, we usually score more, but we didn’t. I think mainly because of their goalie, credit to him, and that’s pretty much the story.
“Scoring three, we could’ve scored in the last minute and a fourth one would’ve been nice, but it’s not a dreamland here, it’s about half-time, we have a better result, much better than before and we know more about our opponent. They will go for it again, they won at Ajax and ground out all the results in the group stage, so we are aware of the quality and now we have a nice game in between, but we will be ready.”