Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has hailed the enthusiasm of star forward Mohamed Salah, explaining that each time he attacked Watford on Saturday was like watching an Olympic sprinter.
The Egypt international scored four times for the Reds as they crushed their opponents 5-0 at Anfield, a continuation of the excellent form he has enjoyed this season.
And Klopp was among those left impressed by the attitude of the 25-year-old on Saturday.
“He took each sprint like the 100-metre final in the Olympic Games,” he manager exclaimed.
“That’s what I mean: the team adapts to our strengths. Nobody is talking and saying: ‘Mo, but you have to …’ At the moment, nobody is saying anything to Salah other than ‘carry on’.”
The former Dortmund coach admits that he has been taken aback by just how successful his summer signing has been playing through the middle of the attack.
“Salah played more on the wing for Roma, where he had a very dominant striker in Edin Dzeko,” he said. “Nobody could know that he could play as a striker. We learned it step by step. We didn’t know exactly that he’s capable of playing in the centre.
“But we will not treat him like: ‘You don’t have to train, Mo – just come on Saturday for the game and we’ll see you there at Anfield or whatever.’ He doesn’t want that. He’s in the moment of his career but he knows there is a lot for him to come. He wants to learn and he wants to improve.”
Klopp pointed out exactly where he sees an improvement in the forward coming, arguing that sometimes Salah needs a nudge to carry out his defensive duties with the full rigour expected by his coach.
“Sometimes he needs a little… reminder,” he said. “A lot of my players need that. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s only a thing.
“If you talk about Roberto Firmino, he loves running in that direction and chasing the players. If I said to him: ‘Stop it,’ he couldn’t.
“That’s why I took him off, because he’ll never rest.”
Liverpool lie third in the Premier League standings and, at the final international break of the season, are well on course to qualify for the Champions League again next term – a competition in which they have a quarter-final date with Manchester City next month.
By Robin Bairner
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