Liverpool meet Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp ready to bring Mohamed Salah back into his starting line-up despite his form
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Salah was left out of the Reds’ starting XI for midweek Champions League face Benfica but there is no doubt he will return on Saturday and Klopp is certain Salah will find his best form. The Anfield boss explained that speaking honestly about Salah’s decline in form lately, he said: “I know Mo will finish strong.
“It is at the moment that we have to reset, because every game is a final for us. In our business, we have a problem that in January he had the most intense period of his whole career – the tournament (Africa Cup of Nations) went up to the wire, Egypt played in the final, had all those 120 minutes.
“The role he has is super, super massive. There’s a lot of responsibility on his shoulders with locker room meetings and things like that without any rest. Then you have the topic of being a superstar in your own country and everyone wants something from you. It’s all super intense. Again, that’s fine for the fight, but now we’re in a period where there’s no downtime and that’s totally normal (at this stage of the season).”
Salah – given his amazing record – has gone an unbelievable 753 minutes without a goal in open play for Liverpool. And he seemed lacking in confidence and energy at times. And yet there were flashes of old Salah returns against City in which First League Last Sunday when he produced an assist for Sadio Mane and almost created a winner for Diogo Jota. And Klopp says the answer is to make sure the record-breaking striker knows he can be himself and keep trying the things that have propelled him to the top of world football.
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Klopp said: “A player like Mo who likes to dribble – and he’s really good, he’s scored outstanding goals with dribbles. Should I say to him: ‘Don’t dribble?’ No! It’s “dribble at the right moments and keep the ball, just keep it” — all those things. It’s a process. It’s not a long process, a week or two. We have an endgame for every game from the beginning of January – this is crazy! My god, I would like to have a whole week to train. But we don’t have it, it’s ok and we deal with it. Mo will take care of it.”
Klopp argued it was correct Rest Salah for the Benfica game, and his thinking is clear: Small margins will decide big games like that against City – where arguably the two best teams in world football go head-to-head. He also rested Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Sadio Mane and his two full-backs and he believes that could bring the advantage.
He said: “These little things are really important and make the difference and being prepared for all the time is really difficult but also very interesting and exciting. When seven players who didn’t start (against Benfica) are fresh. Great. Seven other players got some rhythm. Great. On Saturday we are in the semi-finals. Excellent!” All seven will return and Klopp certainly appears to have Roberto Firmino as his front-line striker ahead of Diogo Jota after the Portuguese striker suffered a knock in the Champions League game.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/jurgen-klopp-liverpool-mohamed-salah-26722626 Mohamed Salah's 'problem' with Liverpool spotted by Jurgen Klopp ahead of FA Cup semi-final