Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was left frustrated by Jurgen Klopp’s decision to withdraw him against West Ham United on Saturday, according to The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle.
With just over 10 minutes to go at Anfield, and Liverpool leading 1-0, Klopp opted to send on Diogo Jota in Salah’s place. The home side wanted a second goal to kill the game, and the Egyptian is their top scorer this season with 27 in all competitions, 10 clear of his nearest challenger Jota (via BBC Sport).
It was only the second time in the Premier League this season that Salah has failed to complete 90 minutes after starting the match.
Doyle spotted Salah ‘muttering to himself’ as he left the Anfield pitch, deducing that he was less than impressed after his number flashed up. He did note, however, that the 29-year-old shook Klopp’s hand when he reached the touchline before taking his place on the bench.
The journalist noted on Twitter: “Salah muttering to himself as he walks off. He’s not impressed. But get a huge cheer and song from the Kop and offers a handshake with Klopp.”
In the words of BBC Sport’s Raj Chohan, Klopp made the decision on ‘merit rather than status’.
Salah had endured a somewhat difficult game against the Hammers, with his SofaScore rating of 6.5/10 comfortably the lowest among the Reds’ starters. He missed a big chance, lost eight of his nine duels and conceded possession 20 times in total, failing to hit his usual high standards.
In all likelihood, the manager was thinking ahead, with a busy schedule lying in the store before the March international break.
Liverpool are about to face three games in the space of eight days – Inter at home in the Champions League, Brighton and Arsenal away in the Premier League – so Klopp’s decision to withdraw Salah may well have been in that in mind rather than for the 29-year-old’s performance.
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