Jurgen Klopp not stressing over Mohamed Salah slump, praises ‘unbelievable record’

Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool are in the Premier League title race thanks to the 'unbelievable record' of Mohamed Salah. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2019
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Jurgen Klopp not stressing over Mohamed Salah slump, praises ‘unbelievable record’

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool are in the Premier League title race thanks to Mohamed Salah's goals despite the Egyptian's faltering form of late.
Salah missed two huge chances as Liverpool drew for the fourth time in six league games in a 0-0 stalemate away to Everton last weekend to fall one point behind Manchester City at the top of the table.
Last season's Premier League Player of the Year has now scored just once in his last seven games.
However, he remains only one goal behind City's Sergio Aguero in the race for the Premier League golden boot.
"When you are a striker or offensive player and you have chances in a game, you want to score with them, that's clear," said Klopp ahead of Burnley's visit to Anfield on Sunday.
"But as a manager I'm more than used to that, that players don't score all the time, so that's how it is.
"He has an unbelievable record, that's all. His goals brought us where we are - not only (his goals), but a big part of it."
Liverpool no longer have a first title in 29 years in their own hands with nine games of the Premier League season remaining.
However, with City feeling the physical strain of trying to complete a historic quadruple of trophies, Klopp insisted there is still plenty of reason for optimism.
"We always said we wanted to be in a position to fight for the top spot in the league and we are still in it," added the German.
"That's all we need to be positive, optimistic and excited in a very positive way about the challenge."
And Klopp is not just concentrating on pre-match preparation for his players, but Liverpool fans too with Sunday's clash kicking off at midday.
"Our people are very important, we spoke a lot about that - we need atmosphere at 12 o'clock," he added.
"I said it last time as well - if you have a ticket for the stadium, go to bed at 10pm latest on Saturday night, don't drink and be on your toes from the first until the last second!"
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard said a Liverpool title win would not detract from the pain he feels of letting a 2014 Premier League lead slip.
As Liverpool captain, Gerrard won almost every trophy bar the Premier League.
Gerrard, now manager of Scottish giants Rangers, famously slipped to hand Chelsea the opener of a 2-0 win at Anfield in April 2014 with Liverpool on course to win the league.
Liverpool currently trail Manchester City by one point at the top of the table with nine games remaining.
"This wound has been open since my experience. I'm not sure it'll close because I can't change that experience," Gerrard, who left Liverpool after 17 years as a player in 2015, told reporters.
"It doesn't affect how I feel now. I look at a squad of players, some of whom I'm still friends with.
"I see a support that gave me absolutely everything from the terraces and around the world.
"I just hope for their sake, and mine as a supporter, that come the end of the competition they are victorious. But it won't make me or my wound feel any different."
Klopp's side have been accused of letting the pressure get to them in recent weeks, having blown the chance to open up a seven-point lead over City just over a month ago by drawing at home to Leicester and have since been held on the road by West Ham, Manchester United and Everton.


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.