Jurgen Klopp admits he is ‘not surprised’ to see ‘world class’ Mohamed Salah compared to Liverpool legend Ian Rush following the star’s match-winning double at West Ham this weekend.
Salah ended a run of six league games without a goal as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 at the London Stadium on Sunday, fashioning his first in fine style with some clever footwork inside the penalty area before a sublime touch and finish to cap a counter-attack for the visitors.
The Egyptian international’s goals moved him to 15 in the Premier League this season and three clear in the race for the division’s Golden Boot, with Klopp admitting there have been signs in recent weeks that the star is getting back to his clinical best.
“Actually he scored a goal against Tottenham; it didn’t count, I know that, but it was a brilliant goal,” Klopp insisted at his post-match press conference. “He had nothing to do with it because it didn’t count, it was handball in the build-up, but the goal was brilliant – and even that, for sure, was a good sign for him that a couple of things are clicking again.
“Tonight he played a super game. He was really in the game, he was really involved, he was flexible and all these kind of things. He kept the ball, passing was good, in the end with the controlling of the game he was really good.
“The first goal is just a super smart goal. I didn’t see it back, but from my perspective I think Fabianski couldn’t see the ball really because the box was full and he chipped it into the far corner.
“The second goal, what a counter-attack – two passes until Mo got the ball. The last pass was obviously spectacular from Shaq, the first touch from Mo outstanding, outstanding, world-class and then nice finish. Top game, top goals.”
21 – Mo Salah is the first player to score 20+ goals in all competitions in four consecutive seasons for Liverpool since Ian Rush did so six times running from 1981-82 to 1986-87. King. pic.twitter.com/JfqMJSluVc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 31, 2021
Salah’s brace also moved him to 20 goals in all competitions so far this season, the winger becoming the first Liverpool player since Rush to achieve the feat in four consecutive campaigns.
Rush remains the greatest goalscorer in the Reds’ history having scored 346 goals in all competitions across two spells, though Klopp insists he is not surprised to see Salah compared to the Welshman given his own goalscoring exploits since arriving on Merseyside.
“I’m not surprised,” Klopp said. “I work on a daily basis together with him and he will never stop having a massive desire for scoring goals. For sure not.
“He is a world-class player, there is no doubt about that. How I said in the last few weeks when we didn’t score that many, the only thing you can do is try and try and try again. You have to make good decisions, or better decisions. Tonight he didn’t force it.
“As I said, the first goal was a proper smart goal and in the last few weeks he probably would have tried to shoot through the legs or whatever, but this [tonight] was really keeping the overview and chipping the ball into the far corner. Top-class goal.”