Mohamed Salah first, then who? Jurgen Klopp reveals Liverpool’s penalty-taking pecking order
- Egyptian missed two spot-kicks
- Scored against Spurs & Fulham
- Player & coach always talking
WHAT HAPPENED? The Egyptian superstar fluffed his lines from the spot on a couple of occasions earlier this season, with failed spot-kicks costing Liverpool points in Premier League meetings with Bournemouth and Arsenal. Salah has since converted against Tottenham and Fulham, with Klopp happy for his leading goalscorer to remain ahead of Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold on penalty duty for now.
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WHAT THEY SAID: The Reds boss has told reporters: “We had a conversation and he [Salah] wanted to stay the penalty-taker. We had a normal conversation about it and I said, ‘Okay, you are.’ You don’t feel great in that moment and that’s what he said. ‘I don’t feel right in that moment’, because the pressure obviously increases with the penalties you miss. Then Fab or Trent, who are two and three, give the ball to them. He smashed them and turned it around.
“I think with all the goals Mo scored, we can’t just judge it for two missed and go away from it. That’s what I meant when I said we’ll talk about it. It’s a conversation between two grown-up men. He enjoys these situations. The problem is before we missed the pen, we didn’t have one for 28 games or so. We train that, obviously, but it’s a special situation. You cannot. 28 weeks is like four years. It feels like forever and you can’t remember any kind of penalty. You miss and it doesn’t feel great. This little break after the Arsenal pen, the talk, the conversation, ‘Shake it off and go from there’. That’s exactly the right thing to do.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Salah has been doing the business in the final third of the field, Liverpool have endured uncharacteristic struggles at the back this season. They were, however, able to secure a shutout in a 1-0 victory over Fulham, with Alisson having waited five games for his 12th clean sheet of the campaign. Klopp added: “Alisson was close to crying with a clean sheet. It’s pretty rare for us this season. It’s very nice, especially for him.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Liverpool will be hoping to keep things tight at the back once again, while potentially earning another penalty, when they play host to Brentford on Saturday.