EPL

Salah now back to full fitness - Klopp

By Sports Desk December 07, 2019

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is finally back to "100 per cent" fitness, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Egypt international scored the final goal of Liverpool's 3-0 win over Bournemouth as they clocked up their 15th victory out of 16 Premier League fixtures this term.

It was Salah's 63rd strike in his 100th Premier League appearance, and only three players - Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) - have bettered that tally in their first century of games.

Salah had been struggling with an ankle problem since a clash with Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury back in October, but Klopp is confident the player is now fully fit.

"He looks now 100 per cent," Klopp said in his post-match news conference after the win over the Cherries.

"It's long ago that he got that knock, but you carry things like this with you when have game after game after game. Mo was absolutely strong."

Meanwhile, Klopp urged his Liverpool defence to follow up their first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions with another when they play in a crunch Champions League match next week.

European champions Liverpool head to Salzburg, where they know a point will be enough to return to the last 16.

Klopp added: "I forgot how a clean sheet feels, to be honest. It's great, we should have them more often. 

"It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys, 'clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet'. Obviously, everybody was desperate for that. Now we have it, so let's have it more often. 

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner - against Salzburg on Tuesday."

Bournemouth have been beaten in each of their past five games, and Cherries boss Eddie Howe lamented the loss of two more players from his already injury-stricken squad.

Defender Nathan Ake and striker Callum Wilson were both taken off with apparent hamstring injuries and will be assessed by the club's medical team over the next few days.

"The squad is stretched," Howe said. "It is there to cope with the injuries, but the difficulty for us is we are getting injuries but not getting players back.

"The mentality of the group is strong but damaged in confidence. We can always do better. We can always question ourselves and say we could have done better, but the quality of the opposition was very strong."

Related items

  • Gundogan would back 'sporting' decision to hand Liverpool Premier League title Gundogan would back 'sporting' decision to hand Liverpool Premier League title

    Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan admitted he is "okay" with handing Liverpool the Premier League title following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Reds are 25 points clear at the top of the table but uncertainty over when the 2019-20 season will resume is leading some to suggest it may not be finished at all.

    City clinched back-to-back titles in the previous two seasons, but Gundogan - who won the Bundesliga under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during their time together at Borussia Dortmund - would have no issue in conceding the crown to their rivals this season.

    He told German broadcaster ZDF: "It would be okay for me. You have to be sporting."

    Asked whether playing out the rest of the season behind closed doors might appeal as an option, Gundogan replied: "Honestly, I can't imagine that - and I don't know how realistic it is."

    With the Football Association opting to cancel the season for all clubs below the three National League divisions in non-league football, many of the smaller clubs in England are facing difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Gundogan would be in favour of top players sacrificing their salaries to help those struggling lower down the football pyramid during the crisis, saying: "Of course I would find that okay, of course. The lower league clubs do not have it so easy."

    The 29-year-old, who joined City in June 2016, revealed he is finding life difficult during the lockdown.

    "You are sometimes afraid to go for a walk for 10 to 15 minutes outside, even though it was oddly and ironically extremely beautiful weather here in Manchester," said Gundogan.

  • Pogba a doddle to play against, claims Souness Pogba a doddle to play against, claims Souness

    Paul Pogba would be "an absolute doddle to play against" because of his poor work ethic, according to Graeme Souness.

    The Liverpool legend is a long-time critic of the Manchester United midfielder and reckons he would easily get the better of the Frenchman.

    While Souness lauded Pogba's technical and physical attributes, he blasted the 27-year-old's attitude. 

    Writing in his column in The Times, Souness responded to a reader's question about his supposed "disdain" for Pogba.

    "Pogba has absolutely everything to be a top player — great athleticism, super technique — but his attitude to the game is the polar opposite of mine," wrote the Scot, who won the top flight five times as a Liverpool player.

    "He goes out with one thought in his mind: 'I'm going to show everyone how clever I am today and be the star of the show'.

    "My attitude, the way I was taught, was: 'Go out and work harder than the guy you're in against and see where that takes you'.

    "He'd be an absolute doddle to play against."

    Pogba has been largely inconsistent since returning to Old Trafford, where his contract is set to expire next year.

    United have an option to extend his stay for a further 12 months, although the France star has been frequently linked with Real Madrid amid an injury-ruined season.

  • Coronavirus: Stunned ex-Barca star Song vows to fight Sion sacking Coronavirus: Stunned ex-Barca star Song vows to fight Sion sacking

    Former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has expressed dismay at being sacked by FC Sion, and says he will raise a complaint with FIFA.

    The 32-year-old Cameroonian was one of nine players to lose his job when the Swiss side offered a reduced wage package as an emergency coronavirus measure.

    According to Sion, Song and eight team-mates refused the new terms and were dismissed with immediate effect.

    With income severely hit, given the Swiss Super League is suspended, Sion president Christian Constantin is confident the club were acting responsibly in proposing the new wage measures.

    Yet Song, 32, is far from happy with the situation and intends to take legal action, with the Swiss players' union also indicating its support for the footballers in the past week.

    "My lawyer will take care of it, it's gone to FIFA. We're going to defend our right," Song told French broadcaster RMC.

    He explained: "We played a friendly on Friday and we were supposed to meet with the president on Monday, then Tuesday. We had no news. We received a WhatsApp message on Tuesday afternoon to tell us that everyone had to sign a paper saying that we'd reduce our salaries, that we'd be paid around 12,000 euros.

    "We had to return the paper by 12pm the next day. We received this document without an explanation."

    Song said that without speaking to the club, it would not have been right to sign up to the new arrangement.

    "We decided together to not sign this document," he said. "We wanted to discuss it."

    Sion, for their part, said players were invited by the club's accounting department to participate in a video call, but that few took up the opportunity.

    Former Camp Nou and Emirates Stadium star Song remains bewildered by Sion's swift move to cull players who did not immediately fall into line.

    "I've not committed any professional mistake," he said. "Every club talks to their players to reach solutions. I don't understand what's happened. Nobody can understand it."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.