Jurgen Klopp reveals why Mohamed Salah wasn’t substituted in Liverpool’s draw with Midtjylland

Egyptian forward played the entire match in Denmark despite Klopp’s recent complaints about Liverpool’s fixture list and the demand being placed on his squad

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Thursday 10 December 2020 11:40 GMT
Mohamed Salah played the duration of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland
Mohamed Salah played the duration of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland (AFP via Getty)

Jurgen Klopp defended his decision not to substitute Mohamed Salah during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with FC MIdtjylland despite the final Champions League group clash being a dead rubber.

Salah was a surprise inclusion on the team sheet for the fixture in Denmark, and after opening the scoring in the first minute, the Egypt international remained on the field for the entire match, despite Klopp’s previous unhappiness with the fixture schedule that is contributing to player fatigue and injuries.

Even more surprising was the fact that Salah remained on the pitch despite Klopp having the five substitutions that the German has been calling for in the Premier League, with Divock Origi and Diogo Jota replaced instead by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane respectively.

Explaining his reasons behind keeping Salah on the field, Klopp said that one of his three starting attackers was always going to have to go the distance, and the Egyptian made it clear that he felt in a good condition to continue playing.

“You can make changes but you need a few key positions,” Klopp said. “It could have been one of the other three regular forwards to play up front for 90 minutes as well.

READ MORE: Liverpool held to 1-1 draw by Midtjylland

“In the last line, that was the reason why Fabinho played 45 minutes there. In midfield, usually it would probably have been Naby Keita but he hasn’t played that often so couldn't fulfil the role and needs minutes now again.

“That was the decision for Mo and how the game developed and how the game looked, Mo looked fine so that's why we didn't take him off.

“Even though players don't play that much, it is difficult to get through 90 minutes after a pretty long time when you don't play 90 minutes.

“I was in contact with Mo and he didn't have any issues, which is why he stayed on the pitch.”

It was the third match in a row that Salah played 90 minutes following the wins over Ajax and Wolverhampton Wanderers, following hour-long displays against Atalanta and Brighton after taking time out to recover from coronavirus. Klopp could choose to rotate Salah out of the side for this weekend’s Premier League clash against 17th-placed Fulham, however, with one eye on next Wednesday’s top-of-the-table clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Klopp was in a keen mood to celebrate Salah after becoming Liverpool’s record top-goalscorer in the competition, with his effort against Midtjylland taking him past Steven Gerrard’s Champions League haul of 21 goals.

"One record after another. I didn't know he could break his record tonight but I'm pretty sure he is proud of that, he should be," Klopp said.

"An exceptional player, an absolutely exceptional player. Since we were together he helps the team the way he knows and appreciates the help of the team as well.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Salah’s impact for Liverpool after passing Steven Gerrard’s record
Jurgen Klopp hailed Salah’s impact for Liverpool after passing Steven Gerrard’s record (AFP via Getty)

"If it was only the incredible number of his goals it would not be enough to be successful, so thank God others scored a lot of goals as well and made this team successful.

"But Mo is a very exceptional player. Nobody doubted it but if you need numbers to prove, he delivers that as well."

Salah himself has no desire to leave the new landmark at 22 goals, with the forward joking that he plans on setting a new record far beyond the reach of the chasing pack.

“It's a great feeling to be the top scorer for the club, it's something I'm proud of,” Salah told BT Sport.

"I need to keep going with that, score more goals, make the gap bigger between me and the others!"

This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri - Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in