Salah urges Liverpool to be ruthless

Updated 18 October 2017
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Salah urges Liverpool to be ruthless

LONDON: Mohamed Salah has told his Liverpool teammates they must reproduce their Champions League form in the Premier League to revive their flagging tilt at the title.
Salah and striker Roberto Firmino grabbed a brace each as Liverpool thrashed Maribor 7-0 on Tuesday night to record their biggest away European win, and the biggest away win in Europe by any English club.
The victory has given Liverpool, who have only managed one win in their past five league games, the boost they needed.
And Salah urged his fellow Reds to take the sharpshooting they showed against the hapless Slovenian outfit into their Premier League matches.
“I think it’s an important result for us so we have to keep looking forward and we have to win the next games,” the Egyptian ace told Reuters.
“In the last three or four games we missed many chances and we had bad luck.
“I think that everyone has confidence that the good result is coming, so now we are in a good position and I’m sure in the next games it will be the same.”
As Salah said, Liverpool have an abundance of talent in attack, but at times this season have struggled to convert the many chances created into goals and victories. And he said that as well as the deluge of goals they scored the one thing they hope to carry from the Maribor match into the Premier League is confidence.
“The team did good and we had a good result so that’s the most important thing,” Salah added.
“I’m very happy for that — seven goals or eight goals (scored since he joined Liverpool) doesn’t change anything, but the most important thing for us is to concentrate on improving the results in the Premier League.
“We didn’t win for two, three games, so we need to carry on and keep looking forward and win the next games.”
Eighth-placed Liverpool travel to thirdplaced Tottenham on Sunday in a match that will test the title credentials of both sides. Liverpool and their boss Jurgen Klopp are under a lot of pressure to launch a concerted campaign at winning the elusive league title. Having dominated English football in the 1980s and 1970s — when they won 11 league titles from 1973-1990 — the Reds have hit hard times. Not only have they failed to claim a top-flight title since then, but they have rarely even challenged for the big prize, with the famous night in Istanbul in 2005 — when they shocked AC Milan to win the Champions League — masking a lot pain for expectant Liverpool fans.
Klopp (pictured) arrived two years ago amid a fanfare of hope with many claiming the German had the personality and managerial nous to take the Reds to Premier League glory.
While his infectious character has gone down well with the Anfield faithful, a few fed up fans are beginning to voice their disapproval of what they see as stagnation under his leadership. A dodgy defence has not helped, and that has been compounded by too many missed chances up front.
That was one of the reasons why Salah was brought by Klopp, to increase the firepower at Liverpool’s disposal. The 25-year-old has now scored eight goals in 13 appearances for Liverpool and more than that has excited fans and scared opposition defenders in equal measure.
His two goals in Egypt’s clash against the Congo last week — including the injury-time winner from the spot — sent his country through to next year’s World Cup and made him more of a national hero than he was already.
Not only that but former French star and all-time great Thierry Henry said Salah can go right to the top.
“For me, he (Salah) is special, he has something special. He will be a special player for Liverpool,” the former Arsenal and Barcelona star said at the weekend.
“I like the fact that he is direct — we don’t have a lot of players like that in the game anymore.
“And yes, people will say sometimes that he needs four opportunities to score a goal. When he is able to finish all the opportunities he has then he will be more than lethal for this club.”


Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

Updated 16 min 53 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

  • Saudi young guns hopeful for future with glory at Tokyo and Paris Olympics on their minds.
  • Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, tells young stars 'the hard yards start now.'

BUENOS AIRES: With heavier hand-luggage and loftier dreams, the Saudi athletes who competed at this month’s Youth Olympic Games will arrive back in Riyadh on Saturday, their medals suggesting reaching Tokyo 2020 is a target as attainable as it is alluring.
The Kingdom brought nine athletes to Argentina and left with a historic gold in karate and two bronze, one each in weightlifting and the 400m hurdles. Mohammed Al-Assiri’s momentous triumph in the final of the Men’s Kumite -61kg on Wednesday night represented the county’s first Olympic gold at any level. It also ensured Buenos Aires will be remembered as Saudi Arabia’s greatest medal haul, eclipsing the one bronze and one silver secured at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. 
Al-Assiri, 16, was awarded SR1 million riyals by Turki Al-Sheikh, head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, for his achievement. 
“Of course, we are delighted. We came here hopeful and we leave with our best ever performance,” said Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, before boarding the flight to Riyadh. “We expected two medals but hoped for three, although we did not know which colors they would be. To get the three and a gold, that’s why we are so happy. Thanks to God, it’s been a great success.”
The two-week campaign was somewhat of a slow-burner; the first seven days passing without as much as a glimpse of a medal for the delegation marked “KSA.” Swimming, taekwondo and fencing all failed to produce tangible reward, although the delegation’s youngest athlete, fencer Ali Saeed Al-Bahrani, took much consolation from the experience
“We will benefit a lot from this participation,” said the 15-year-old, who had been invited to contest the Men’s Sabre Individual and progressed through his group before being defeated in the last-16. “God-willing, this here will help us enjoy better success in the future.”
The midway point of the games marked a change in fortune — and provided genuine reasons for positivity ahead of the Olympic Games proper, which takes place in less than two years. Ali Yousef Al-Othman had finished third at the Asian Championships in April, but a dedicated training program and the assistance of Egyptian coach Khaled Qur’any helped him emulate that feat on the world stage. 
Al-Othman was understandably confident after accepting his bronze medal, telling Arab News that Tokyo is now at the forefront of his mind. “My dream was to win a medal at the Youth Olympics,” he said. “Now that dream has changed and I will work harder than ever to make Tokyo 2020 a reality.”
Qur’any, who has coached at the past two Olympics, however, was keen to keep his athlete’s feet on the ground, a feat possibly made trickier by the awarding of SR200,000.
“He is only 16, so I think Tokyo will come too soon for him,” Qur’any said. “Paris in 2024 is different — we would hope to be there. Ali has the potential, but there is a lot of work to be done before we can think of that.”
On the athletics track, Raghad Bu Arish won her heat in the 100m but her time was some distance off the pace. Mohammed Al-Muawi, meanwhile, benefited from the disqualification of South Africa’s Lindukhule Gora in the Men’s 400m hurdles to leap up a place and on to the podium. It was his first competitive event and the culmination of more than five months of training in California with American former World Championships silver medallist Ryan Wilson.  
“This medal is an amazing achievement for me,” said Al-Muawi, who was also awarded SR200,000. “I need to thank my coach. I hope to keep working with him. He always gives me so much support. Next year I have the Asian Championships and some Arab races, but of course I am dreaming about Tokyo. I want to challenge the best in the world, guys like Karsten Warholm from Norway and Abderrahman Samba.” 
The Asian Athletics Championships are scheduled to take place in Qatar next April, before the IAAF World Championships five months later. Jalaiden confirmed Saudi Arabia intends to send a delegation, adding he hopes the results in Buenos Aires can help inspire more victories at this level.
“We hope that we can take this success and build upon it ahead of Tokyo,” said Jalaiden. “And also use the experience here to help the next generation of Saudi athletes who will compete at the 2022 Youth Olympics (in Senegal). The hard work starts all over 
again now.”