Mohamed Salah’s role at Liverpool has evolved significantly since he arrived at Anfield, and the Egyptian is a significant threat even if he does not score, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
Salah netted his 43rd goal in Europe for Liverpool in Thursday’s 5-1 win over Toulouse in the Europa League, the most scored by any player for an English club. He has nine goals and four assists in all competitions this season.
The 31-year-old is five goals short of 200 for Liverpool, and Klopp explained how the former AS Roma forward adapted from a speedy winger to a clever interpreter of space to benefit his teammates.
“The young Mo was a super-fast player who could go in behind... Here, from the first day he had to do different things. He adapted extremely well,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“The playmaker in that front row was probably more Bobby (Firmino) setting things up, and then, you don’t need two players who are a bit deeper -- it’s not that good anyway because you need players in the box.”
“Now it’s slightly different, especially with Darwin (Nunez) when he’s playing, we have another speed player up there. So that changed Mo’s position, definitely, and he is smart enough to adapt to all these different things.”
Klopp does not expect the Egypt international to slow down any time soon.
“I think if we would really scan him, the majority of his bones are probably 19 or 20 (years old) because he just keeps himself in such good shape,” Klopp added.
“He understands the spaces much better, he knows how players react to him, and then if he cannot score, he can still be a threat for us, and that’s really super-important.”
Liverpool hosts Nottingham Forest on Sunday, and Klopp said he hoped to see his former player Divock Origi in its squad. The Belgian played a key role in Liverpool’s 2018-19 Champions League triumph with goals in the semifinal and final.
“I hope he’s fit so the people can give him a little hello, he would deserve that definitely,” Klopp said. “Besides that, I don’t wish him a good game, that’s clear!”
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