Jurgen Klopp opens up about Mohamed Salah struggles

Jurgen Klopp opens up about Mohamed Salah struggles

Jurgen Klopp admitted Mohamed Salah is suffering from the break-up of the “well-drilled machine” of Liverpool’s former front three and the lack of continuity in their new-look forward line.

The Egyptian is Liverpool’s 17-goal top scorer this season but has only struck once in his last six appearances and has not even registered a shot on target in the last three.

But Liverpool sold Sadio Mane, part of a successful attacking trio with Salah for years, in the summer, while Roberto Firmino, another long-time teammate, has not played since the World Cup.

Cody Gakpo has just joined the club while Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota have spent long spells on the sidelines this season. Klopp’s first-choice front three may be Salah, Diaz and Darwin Nunez but they have played just 343 minutes together and the manager accepted it is having an impact on the winger.

“Of course he is suffering,” Klopp said. “It was a well-drilled machine, the front three. Everything was clear what we were doing. It is specific, offensive play that requires a lot of work and lot of information, and not always obvious information. You create a feeling about a lot of these things, about where your teammate is and where to pass the ball without looking.”

The lack of continuity has extended to the right-sided role in midfield, behind Salah, where Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott have both played this season and where Naby Keita has started in the last two games.

But he insisted he is not worried by Salah’s rare lack of goals, adding: “We start a new chapter and now we talk about Mo Salah. If you had scored hundreds of goals in the past and now you are not scoring then that is the first thing you would think about but that is not our problem at the moment.

“I’m happy if he scores one, and in another game someone else scores one and we keep a clean sheet. We started the season with Harvey in the half position, with Hendo it’s different and now it is Naby, so things are different all the time. But usually you have a real basis to build on and that is what we don’t have.”

Salah’s struggles have been exacerbated in the last couple of matches (EPA)
Salah’s struggles have been exacerbated in the last couple of matches (EPA)

Klopp believes one of the issues in his forward line is not just the change in personnel, but adapting to different tactics as, after years with a false nine, his biggest summer signing is a centre-forward.

He explained: “When Darwin is playing there he is obviously more high up, going in behind, these kind of things. We never played with a No 9 before, even when Sadio played in the position he was dropping in moments. That’s not Darwin’s game. He wants to have other balls at his feet and he is a real handful there. It is all good if they would all be in and we could build something, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”

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