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

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.


Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

Updated 14 November 2019

Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

  • The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion tackles Dakar
  • Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place

JEDDAH: Fernando Alonso continued his preparations for his Dakar Rally debut in Saudi Arabia by taking third place in AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally and secure his inaugural rally podium finish in the process this week.
The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso takes the wheel for Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020, the Middle East’s first-ever edition of Dakar Rally, which is hosted by the kingdom from 5 to 17 January.
“It was an ideal preparation for Dakar as we discovered new terrain that we will come across again at Dakar,” Alonso said.
“It is a great feeling to finish third and get the first rally podium in my life. The fact that it happened here in Saudi Arabia at this time gives us a lot of confidence going into Dakar,” Alonso added.
Starting in AlUla and extending over 765km before the finale in Neom, AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally was contested across four stages over five days, and the former Formula 1 champion said it was an “excellent training” for him on a similar terrain and in close weather conditions to what would be expected at Dakar.
Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally, while compatriot Yasir Seaidan finished second, with Alonso rounding off the podium places.
Alonso, who made his desert rally debut in Morocco last month, was co-driven by five-time Dakar bike winner Marc Coma, and the Spanish duo will be together again at Dakar Saudi Arabia as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
The 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 champion got his campaign at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally underway to a good start on Day 1 before taking the pace up a notch on the second and third days to set his team up for a podium finish on the last day. “We continue with our plan and preparations, step by step and adapting as fast as we can,” Alonso said of his plans ahead of Dakar.
Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will consist of 12 stages, allowing pilots coming from across six continents to discover Saudi Arabia’s rich past, live its modernized present, and meet its future as they race through the Kingdom.
The pilots will kick off Rally Dakar from Jeddah, the bride of the Red Sea, through to Neom, a fully sustainable city of the future, then pass by the historical sites of Riyadh to face the Empty Quarter, a huge desert of unbroken sand, to end in Qiddiya, a future entertainment, sports and cultural destination.
A criminal investigation was been launched after an armed man intercepted a vehicle taking part in the rally.