‘I was right to take off Salah,’ says Klopp

Juergen Klopp
Updated 11 December 2017
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‘I was right to take off Salah,’ says Klopp

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp defended his decision to substitute Egypt star Mohamed Salah after Liverpool let slip a winning position at home to Everton yesterday.
The Reds were in complete control and ahead thanks to Salah’s 13th league goal of the season and his 20th in all competitions. But the momentum swung after Salah was strangely replaced on 67 minutes, allowing Everton to mount a comeback and level the match with a 77th-minute penalty from Wayne Rooney.
“That is my job,” said Klopp when asked about taking off Salah. “I make decisions that I think are right. It is your job to say afterwards if it is right. We lived more or less in their box. We could have scored earlier. I have to live with that.”
Klopp could not believe his side did not win the game and felt Everton should have been reduced to ten and that Rooney shouldn’t have been given the chance to level the match from the penalty spot.
“Our performance was good,” Klopp said. “We didn’t score often enough. I saw only one team playing. I can’t believe the situation with all the challenges. We were clean and didn’t make any fouls. There is always one nasty one — Sigurdsson made that. A clear red card. You see the picture of the penalty. Calvert-Lewin is smart but it is nothing. But it is a penalty and one team can celebrate and we can’t. I don’t understand why the ref is doing that (giving the penalty). I didn’t use one swear word. Only one team is trying over 95 minutes to win it. The other team are not in our box and didn’t have a shot on target bar the penalty.”
Everton had just 21 percent of possession and only three attempts on goal to Liverpool’s 23, so it was no wonder Rooney was delighted with a draw.
“It is a fantastic point for us,” said England’s record goalscorer.” Liverpool are a fantastic team with good individual players. We knew it would be difficult and we would need to be patient. We defended brilliantly. We had two or three moments on the break that we had to take and we did that. It is great to play the derby. It is great for the city and there are bragging rights. The Evertonians will be more pleased. It is always nice to score against Liverpool, no matter who you play for.”
Rooney has missed ten penalties in his career, so he was delighted to convert this one under the most intense pressure.
“I had to keep myself composed,” he said. “Lovren kicked the ball away and that gave me time. I knew where I was going. I practised yesterday and thankfully I caught it right. It looked a clear penalty. He pushed him over and the ref has made the right decision.”


LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

Updated 10 min 20 sec ago
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LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

6.45PM: Great camaraderie between the Egypt and Saudi Arabian fans in the stands. The Mexican Wave is going round the stadium, which is never usually a good sign. But this has been a solid performance from both teams.

6.40PM: The Green Falcons have had a couple of free-kicks in promising positions in the last 5 minutes...both have been wasted, however. 10 minutes left...

6.30PM: That early bright start to this half is fading for Saudi Arabia as Egypt look to take control of the game, and Hector Cuper urges them on.

But what's this? Another two top saves from El-Hadary keeps Saudi Arabia at bay. They're not done just yet...

6.24PM: That's the end of the World Cup for Mohsen as the Egyptian No. 9 is replaced by Ramadan Sobhi.

Meanwhile, Aburadeah Aseri comes on for Bahebri for the Green Falcons.

25 minutes left.

6.21PM: Both of Egypt's goals at this World Cup have been scored by Salah, but Trezeguet came awfully close to joining the party as his towering header flashes just past the post with Al-Mosailem in the Saudi goal well beaten.

6.15PM: The intensity has just dropped out of this game now, and is beginning to look like the "dead rubber" we thought it would be. Saudi Arabia seem content to knock it around the middle just now, and Egypt are happy to let them.

6.08PM: Much better from Saudi Arabia who are attacking with a lot more intent at the beginning of the second half, they're pinning Egypt back into their own half at the moment.

5.45PM - HALFTIME: What a story for Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who pulled off a fantastic save to keep Egypt ahead. Magical moment. But the second penalty gives Saudi Arabia hope for the second half. 

The Salah goal opened the game up much more, and the Green Falcons produced some much better football to create opportunities. 

One last push in the second half could see them claim a famous victory.

5.48PM: After VAR review, the penalty is confirmed and Salman Al-Faraj buries it! GOAL FOR SAUDI ARABIA! At last...

5.45PM: A SECOND PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA...

5.40PM: PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA - And Fahad misses it...the wait for a goal at this World Cup goes on for the Green Falcons!

5.36PM: Salman has a glorious chance for Saudi Arabia, but his shot inside the box is blocked on the line and goes out for a corner. Green Falcons' best chance of the game.

5.30PM: That's given the thousands of Egyptian fans in this Volgograd Arena something to cheer about, and they're the ones making all the noise now.

5.22PM: GOAL - Who else? Mohamed Salah with a wonderful touch chips it into the net to give the Pharoahs a 1-0 lead...

5.20PM: As we've seen for the majority of this tournament, Saudi Arabia keep the ball reasonably well in the first two-thirds ... but they are just lacking that quality needed in the final third to turn possession into goals.

5.12PM: There's one glimmer of hope about this World Cup for Saudi Arabia - according to the statisticians, they boast some one of the best passing accuracy figures at the tournament. Having made 1,107 passes in their two games before today, they boasted an accuracy of 83.9%, just behind Spain on 91.3%. Iran were at the bottom with 61.3%.

5.07PM: Saudi Arabia win their first corner of the match... and it is comfortably cleared by the Egyptian defense. But that was better from the Green Falcons.

5.00PM: Here we go, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's final game of the 2018 World Cup is under way...

4.50PM: Al-Ahli's Alexis Ruano is watching the game and is hoping for a Saudi Arabia win by the looks of it...

Meanwhile, the Egypt fans are in good voice in the stands too...

4.40PM: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match: "It's very easy with hindsight, after the results that we have had, to come up with situations that you'd like to change. But unfortunately we coaches have to take most of our decisions before things pan out.

"We've seen that certain concepts work, we've seen alternatives, we've tried to bring in new players as well, and this experience that we have had specifically in the run-up to this World Cup has been very important."

4.15PM: This must be some sort of record because there is 45 minutes to go until kick-off and we have not spoken about Mohamed Salah yet. The news El-Hadary will start and enter the record books has taken the spotlight away from the "Egyptian King". We reckon that both for him and the rest of the squad that will come as a huge relief. Cominginto this match there were reports Salah was ready to quit international football, such was the circus that his playing/non-playing created — the latest episode of which saw both player and team management deny that rumor.

4PM: EL-HADARY SET TO MAKE HISTORY —  So the last matches of Group A have arrived and while hosts Russia will be battling it out with Uruguay to see who goes though as group winners, the Green Falcons and Egypt have little but pride to play for in Volgograd.

The big team news that has come out so far is that Hector Cuper has had a heart and will start Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. That means El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup. Aged 45 years, five months and 12 days he will smash the record currently held by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

This may be a dead rubber, however, both sides will be keen to get a win. Saudi Arabia are looking for their first World Cup victory since 1994, while the Pharaohs are searching for their first win in the tournament ever.