Mohamed Salah can cope with hectic schedule, says Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp is mindful of the demands being placed on his star forward. (Reuters)
Updated 11 May 2018

Mohamed Salah can cope with hectic schedule, says Jurgen Klopp

  • Egyptian took a private jet to collect an award
  • 'I would prefer he went home after work and put his legs up on the sofa'

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp insists Mohamed Salah won’t lose focus despite the increased demands on the Liverpool star at the climax of his record-breaking season.
Reds boss Klopp is frustrated that Salah had to fly to London to receive the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award on Thursday, just hours after being presented with Liverpool’s own Player of the Year prize.
Salah, who is also the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, has not managed to add to his 43 goals this season in the last three matches and looked tired in Liverpool’s defeat at Chelsea on Sunday.
Liverpool need a point against Brighton on Sunday to seal the Premier League top four finish that guarantees entry into next season’s Champions League before turning their attention to the European Cup final against Real Madrid.
Salah is clearly the key to Liverpool’s success in those two crucial matches after scoring 43 goals in an astonishing first season following his move from Roma.
While Klopp admits Salah could have done without the additional non-football workload, he expects the Egypt winger to cope with the stress.
“It is quite difficult for a player because there are some many challenges constantly,” Klopp said on Friday.
“Yesterday we had our LFC Awards — good timing. The next challenge was the journalists (the FWA dinner).
“I know it was a very important award but to bring the boy again, on a Thursday night before the last game, to London to celebrate a party when we are not partying.
“It is not perfect and as a manager I would prefer he went home after work and put his legs up on the sofa watching a movie or going early to bed but he was early to bed, we organized it as good as possible.
“Problems are always problems if you are surprised and you think ‘Oh, I had no clue about that’.
“But it is perfectly planned always and the club is doing a world-class job in organizing everything so it is as smooth as possible.”
Klopp has tried to keep his players’ concentrated on the Brighton clash, but he acknowledged the awards season has become something of a distraction.
“You want to be really focused. The season now for most of the teams in the league is a nice time but for us it is work,” he said.

Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

Updated 21 March 2019

Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach wants to guide the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • "If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here," Dutchman says of his new job.

LONDON: Bert van Marwijk has told the UAE he only has one thing on his mind: Getting the side to the 2022 World Cup. 

The former Saudi Arabia boss was unveiled as the new coach of the Whites before watching his new team beat his former team 2-1 in a friendly in Dubai (see right). While he was in the stand rather than the dugout — interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman took charge — he would have liked what he saw as he set himself the challenge of leading the UAE to their first showpiece since 1990. 

“I’m here for only one thing, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup,” the Dutchman said.  

“It takes a long time and the first thing we have to deal with is the first qualification round. That’s why I’m here.”

Van Marwijk was celebrated after he led the Green Falcons to last year's World Cup before calling it quits. (AFP) 

Van Marwijk guided Saudi Arabia to last year’s World Cup — the Green Falcons’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017.

That was one of the key reasons the UAE fought hard for the 66-year-old and while it is never easy getting through Asian qualifying — 46 teams going for just four direct slots at Qatar 2022 — the Dutchman claimed his experience, combined with his knowledge of the UAE, will stand him in good stead. 

“The Saudis and the UAE are about the same level. With the Saudis we qualified for Russia, so we will do really everything to go to Qatar in 2022,” Van Marwijk said. 

While he is fondly remembered in the Kingdom — only a contractual dispute regarding backroom staff meant he did not stay on as Green Falcons coach for the Russia tournament — it is his time as the Netherlands coach that really stands out on his managerial resume. Van Marwijk coached the Oranje to within minutes of the World Cup trophy, with only an Andres Iniesta extra-time winner preventing him from tasting ultimate glory against Spain in 2010. 

So why did he return to the Gulf for another crack at World Cup qualification in a tough, crowded race? 

“One of the reasons is the feeling. I have to have the right feeling when I sign a contract,” Van Marwijk said. “We analyzed the UAE, we played four times against each other with Saudi, so I can see the potential.

“I have had the experience to go to the World Cup twice. The first time we were second in the world, the second time was with Australia (which he coached last summer) and we were a little bit unlucky — we played very well. 

“So to go to the World Cup for the third time is the goal.”

Van Marwijk is all too aware his task will be difficult. The “Golden Generation” of Emirati footballers, spearheaded by Omar Abdulrahman, tried and failed to make it to football’s biggest tournament, and a lot of the next three years’ work will likely depend on a new generation.

“I heard there were some young talents, so I’m anxious to know how good they are,” the Dutchman said. “I know the team has a few very good players — the UAE has a few weapons. 

“That’s the most important thing. If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here.”