Jurgen Klopp praises age-defying Mohamed Salah after European record

FILE - Mohamed Salah in action for Liverpool. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

FILE - Mohamed Salah in action for Liverpool. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

Published Oct 27, 2023


Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah combines deep understanding of football with the body of a young man after the forward set a new European goalscoring record for a player for an English club.

The Egypt international came off the bench to score the final goal in Thursday's 5-1 Europa League win over Toulouse, his 43rd goal in major European competitions for the club, surpassing Thierry Henry's tally of 42 for Arsenal.

Klopp, whose side host Nottingham Forest on Sunday, is enjoying the spectacle of a maturing player with a more rounded game, yet one who still has the physical attributes to match anyone.

"Off the pitch he behaves like a grown-up man but besides that he's still a young player," Klopp said. "He's so fit. I think if we scan him the majority of the bones are probably 19 or 20 (years old) because he just keeps in such good shape.

"(He has) game understanding. That's what we try to give young players. They all know an awful lot about football when they finish their career at 35 but the earlier you can get this information the more useful it is.

"And with Mo he understands the spaces much better, he knows how players react on him and if he cannot score he can still be a threat for us and that's super important.... I cannot compare Mo to other 30-odd-year-old players because I don't think biologically he is."

Salah, who has attracted strong interest from the cash-rich Saudi league, has already scored nine goals in all competitions in the 2023/24 season and is just five away from 200 in total since arriving at Liverpool in 2017.

Klopp described the 31-year-old as "in all phases world-class", adding: "We appreciate him and we will appreciate him even more after his career when we realise we saw something really special."

Liverpool go into the weekend three points off the top of the Premier League table and aiming to show they can balance a Europa League campaign with a title challenge at home.

"So far we could do it," he said. "Thursday-Sunday is not great but it's something we know really for long enough and that's fine.

"A lot of the players who didn't play (against Toulouse) will probably start on Sunday so for them they had if you want a day off, just warming up and kicking a few balls," he added.

"We will have a proper session to prepare for Nottingham.

"This rhythm is the rhythm we have this year. We should get used to it sooner rather than later."