Mohamed Salah: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says forward's frustration at substitution is a 'normal issue'

Mohamed Salah was substituted after 62 minutes in league defeat to Chelsea on Thursday as Reds suffered fifth consecutive home defeat; watch Liverpool vs Fulham on Super Sunday from 1pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off is 2pm

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Jurgen Klopp insists there is no problem with Mo Salah at Liverpool after the forward was substituted early against Chelsea

Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah's frustration at being substituted during Liverpool's Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Thursday is a "normal issue" as he praised the forward's outstanding goal record this season.

Salah, who has scored a league-high 17 goals this season, was visibly unhappy, shaking his head, after being replaced 62 minutes into the Reds' fifth consecutive defeat at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Klopp revealed after the match he had made the substitution because the Egypt international was "feeling the intensity".

Just after the substitution, Salah's agent Remy Abbas Issa posted a cryptic response to the change, tweeting out just a single full stop.

When Klopp was asked what he needed to do to ensure there is no lasting problem, he replied: "Talking. That's how it always is. I am not even sure if this situation is a reason for a 'proper talk' about it?

"We were 1-0 down, that makes no player happy, you go off and you can react in different ways because you are not happy about the general game.

"On top of that you get subbed [as] a striker and you think you should stay on the pitch. That is all completely clear and a normal issue. It's just normal life."

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Klopp also dismissed the notion there was any lingering issue after Salah expressed in December his disappointment at being overlooked as captain for Liverpool's Champions League group-stage match against Midtjylland.

The German, whose side host Fulham on Sunday, said. "That is so long ago. It was absolutely nothing. Mo is in a good mood. He has scored goals after that. These things are not our problem."

Liverpool are now four points adrift of the top four in seventh, three points behind neighbours Everton, who are fifth and have a game in hand on their Merseyside rivals.

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Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (centre) and his team-mates appear dejected after the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Thursday March 4, 2021. 0:43
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Klopp says the champions, who have now gone more than 10 hours without a goal in open play at Anfield, need widespread improvement if they are to overcome their alarming drop in form since the new year.

Asked if the return of Diogo Jota could help lead the front three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to rediscover their levels, Klopp replied: "We all have to improve, definitely.

"[When] you only lose games when you have more potential than the results show, then it is all about the performance. That is where we all have to improve.

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"Mo still has a great scoring record. I am sure everyone knows and he knows himself that he could have scored more goals. But Mo's scoring record is not our problem. In general, we have to improve - 100 per cent."

Klopp believes Salah, who has scored more than 20 goals in all competitions in the past four seasons since his arrival from Roma in 2017, is not fazed by the expectations on his shoulders as Liverpool's most prolific goalscorer.

"I don't think for him that is pressure," Klopp said. "I think he enjoys that. Mo's goalscoring rate is absolutely outstanding and especially when you look at the consistency.

"We make these decisions in the moment and not with any thought behind. The problem is you have to explain it the day after the game.

"We all know we came together to the top and we came together to the point here and we will sort it together.

"I can't not change a player because it creates a story afterwards. I don't even think about these things in the moment.

"You do it because in the moment you think it is right and you are allowed to judge it afterwards if it was right."

Was Klopp right to sub Salah?

Jamie Carragher described Klopp's decision to substitute Salah as "strange", given the Reds were in need of an equaliser.

"Klopp's never been shy in taking Salah off the pitch," said the Sky Sports pundit. "It's not a case where he's worried of taking his main player off. He's taken him off in certain games where Salah has been poor.

Mohamed Salah was hauled off shortly after the hour-mark at Anfield 0:54
Carragher questions Liverpool's decision to bring off Salah when they needed a goal during their defeat to Chelsea

"He's a big goal threat, but a lot of the time where he's been taken off in the past, Liverpool's attacking play has been breaking down. You could understand it.

"He wasn't at his best tonight, but it wasn't one of those games where he was losing possession. He just didn't have much of the ball. You've got to remember that Salah is not a great player with the ball. He's better off the ball, making runs and scoring goals.

"Salah is a great goalscorer and what Liverpool have lacked is a goal, and it's what they needed in that second half. I was thinking whether there was something in the number of games he's played, but I don't know. It's hard to question Klopp, but I did think it was a strange one.

"When you need a goal late on, you need as many people on the pitch who can score you a goal, basically.

"It's not the first time he's done it and it won't be the last. At this moment, even with Salah on the pitch for an hour, Liverpool didn't look like scoring and that for me is a bigger problem than what's going on at the back."

Kuyt: Salah should be fuming

Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt says Klopp will be hoping Salah carries his frustration at being substituted into Sunday's game with Fulham.

Kuyt experienced a similar scenario in 2010 when then Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez replaced Fernando Torres during a must-win game against Birmingham, with shocked skipper Steven Gerrard shaking his head at the decision.

The Dutchman does not believe Salah's reaction at being subbed will bother Klopp.

Mohamed Salah after being substituted against Chelsea 2:06
Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt says Salah should be fuming after being substituted against Chelsea and believes his reaction will have pleased Klopp

Kuyt told The Football Show: "You cannot be happy if you're losing against Chelsea at home and the manager takes you off. You should be fuming, at yourself and the manager.

"When you are a top-level player you always want to get the best out of yourself. Hopefully Salah takes it into his next game and is scoring goals for the team.

"I can remember that game against Birmingham but the manager has the picture of the short-term importance, which is winning this game, and also the remaining games.

"Liverpool still have 11 league games to play where they need to get as many points as possible.

"If Klopp thinks Salah is tired but doesn't take him off, and then he picks up a hamstring injury, it is the end of his season and you have a bigger problem."

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