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
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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.


Dutch cap Europe’s World Cup dominance by ousting Japan

Updated 26 June 2019
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Dutch cap Europe’s World Cup dominance by ousting Japan

  • The reigning European champions will need to maintain that composure as they prepare for a meeting with Italy

RENNES, France: Tears were still flowing from Saki Kumagai’s eyes more than 30 minutes later.
With victorious Dutch rivals passing her on the way out of the stadium, Japan’s captain seemed to find solace in speaking about the penalty long after it cost her team a place in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup.
With Tuesday night’s game entering the 90th minute locked at 1-1, Kumagai’s outstretched left arm blocked the shot Vivianne Miedema had aimed into the right side of the net.
“It had my hand for sure,” Kumagai said. “It’s difficult to accept but it’s also sad. I know that is football.”
Referee Melissa Borjas pointed to the penalty spot and Lieke Martens netted her second goal of the game in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 victory that sent the Netherlands into the quarterfinals for the first time.
“We have made history,” Martens said. “I’m not usually taking the penalties but I felt really good this game. I asked Sherida Spitse if I could take it and she gave it directly to me and I felt quite relaxed about it.”
The reigning European champions will need to maintain that composure as they prepare for a meeting with Italy on Saturday after going one stage further than their Women’s World Cup debut four years ago.
“We were standing in the circle after the match and we were so happy, yelling at each other,” Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman said. “We were saying, ‘Let’s continue writing history.’“
It is journey’s end for Japan, which won the 2011 tournament and was the runner-up four years later.
The strength of the second-half display counted for nothing.
As befitting a meeting of the Asian and European champions, the game produced some of the slickest action of the World Cup. A backheel flick set up Martens to send the Dutch in front in the 17th minute and Yui Hasegawa equalized in the 43rd to complete a slick passing move.
But the post, crossbar and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal thwarted Japan’s pursuit of a winning goal.
“I think we lacked the clinical edge,” Japan coach Asako Takakura said. “We have to accept the result, we’re defeated, we’re very disappointed and for all the players I feel very sorry for them and frustrated.”
With the last Asian team eliminated, the Women’s World Cup will have a record seven European teams in the quarterfinals. Norway and England meet in Le Havre on Thursday and France takes on the United States the following night. After the Netherlands plays Italy on Saturday, Germany and Sweden will meet.
“It’s really tough to be here,” Netherlands forward Miedema said. “Sometimes it kind of feels like a Euros.”
That is a title already won by this team, thanks to Miedema’s goals in the final two years ago on home soil.
The fans won’t have far to travel for the World Cup quarterfinal, with Valenciennes around two hours’ drive from the Netherlands.
It will be another chance for the orange-clad fans who danced and sang their way in a convoy to the stadium on Tuesday to stamp their mark on this tournament.
They were certainly given a game to savor, and an audacious opening goal.
Martens flicked in the opener after evading her marker to meet a corner and send the ball through the legs of Yuika Sugasawa into the net.
Sugasawa had a quick chance to tie, only to hit the post. But Japan did equalize by completing an intricate move.
Hina Sugita squared across the penalty area to Yuika Sugasawa, who passed back to Mana Iwabuchi on the edge of the penalty area. After holding off Jackie Groenen on the turn, Iwabuchi slipped the ball through to Hasegawa, who was free to delicately dink a shot over Van Veenendaal into the corner of the net.
It was some way to make the most of a first shot on target for a team that failed to score in two of its three group stage games.
But parity nearly didn’t last long.
Miedema received the ball from Shanice van de Sanden but with only Ayaka Yamashita to beat struck straight at the Japan goalkeeper.
Van Veenendaal came to the rescue of the Dutch in the second half by denying Emi Nakajima as Japan chased the winner.
“Japan is a world class team and you saw that today,” Miedema said. “In the second half you can see they have loads of quality on the pitch.”