Rangers striker Morelos ruled out of Old Firm derby

By Sports Desk April 01, 2022

Rangers will be without leading scorer Alfredo Morelos when they face Celtic in a huge Old Firm derby on Sunday.

The striker sustained a thigh injury while away on international duty with Colombia and will not be fit for a potentially decisive Scottish Premiership clash at Ibrox.

Morelos played no part in Colombia's victories over Bolivia and Venezuela, which proved to be in vain as they failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday confirmed the 25-year-old will miss the showdown with Glasgow rivals Celtic, who are three points ahead of Rangers heading into the contest.

"Unfortunately for all of us he won't be with us on Sunday, we won't have him back in the next couple of weeks," said the former Netherlands midfielder.

"Morelos will be assessed and hopefully we can give more news after the weekend."

Morelos has scored 11 league goals for the defending champions this season.

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    Jurgen Klopp put the Premier League and Europe's elite on notice when he warned Mohamed Salah's best years at Liverpool are still to come.

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    It means there is no danger of the Egyptian walking away as a free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season, and with the deal agreed before the start of the new campaign, there should be no more distractions when it comes to the 30-year-old's future.

    Salah has had five successful seasons at Anfield already, helping Liverpool win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Inevitably, this had drawn admiring glances from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    His arrival from Roma has been one of the best pieces of business during Klopp's reign, and now Salah is staying around to spearhead the push for more success.

    Klopp said he was "really pleased – really, really pleased", adding: "It's the best decision for us and best decision for him. He belongs with us, I think. This is his club now.

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    Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Klopp raved about the physical power of Salah, an often overlooked aspect of his game. His silky skills and finishing prowess grab the focus, with Salah scoring 31 goals and adding 15 assists in 51 games last season.

    However, Klopp said: "Fitness-wise, he's a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it, and he gets his rewards. His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.

    "He is adored by his team-mates. As coaches, we know we work with someone special. And the supporters have crowned him a king. So, very cool.

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    Liverpool fell agonisingly short of an unprecedented quadruple last season, winning the FA Cup and EFL Cup before losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final and being denied the Premier League title by Manchester City on a dramatic final day of that campaign.

    All the time, doubts lingered over whether Salah would make a long-term commitment to Liverpool, or whether he might soon move on.

    "Of course it has taken a little time," said Klopp, "but that's absolutely okay, and the best things are always worth waiting for anyway.

    "Mo is one of the best players in the world; it's only normal there are things to sort when you are at his level."

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    It is difficult to remember now, but Salah's arrival from Roma in a deal rising to £43million raised more than a few eyebrows due to his disappointing earlier spell with Chelsea.

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    The 30-year-old has made 254 appearances for the Reds in total, 235 of those being starts, and has scored 156 goals while assisting 58 more.

    Those 156 goals rank him ninth on the list of Liverpool's record scorers, with considerable ground to make up on Ian Rush at the top of that list with 346 goals.


    CLOSING IN ON GERRARD RECORD

    Salah might struggle to overhaul Rush, but he will also have another record in his sights when the 2022-23 campaign gets up and running next month.

    With 164 direct goal involvements in the Premier League, Salah trails only Steven Gerrard (212) among Reds players in the competition in that regard.

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    PREMIER LEAGUE PEDIGREE

    Salah has scored 118 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League alone, which is 13 more than next-best Harry Kane among all clubs since the start of the 2017-18 season.

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    MORE TO COME FROM MO

    Salah's output has been consistent across his five years at Anfield, starting between 45 and 49 games a season and registering double figures for assists in all but one of those campaigns.

    He has remained a prolific scorer throughout, with a high of 44 goals in the 2017-18 season and a low – but still respectable – 23 in the 2019-20 campaign. The latter was the season when Liverpool won the Premier League.

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    The 29-year-old was a free agent after leaving Arminia Bielefeld and has signed a three-year deal with the Premier League champions in a move that is subject to international clearance.

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