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Klopp relaxed over Salah's fitness ahead of Napoli clash

AFP/Liverpool
Filed on November 26, 2019
Mohamed Salah was an unused substitute in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Liverpool need to beat Napoli to top Group E in Champions League

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has no concerns about Mohamed Salah's fitness ahead of their Champions League clash with Napoli.

Salah was an unused substitute in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday after missing training with an ankle problem.

"Mo Salah looks really good," Klopp said. "I'm not worried about it."

Klopp also provided an update on the fitness of defender Joel Matip, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.

"Joel is improving but is some time away. There will be a scan this week and then we will see how it is."

Victory over Carlo Ancelotti's side on Wednesday will ensure defending champions Liverpool finish top of Group E with a game to spare but Klopp said his team could not afford to look past this match.

"The biggest mistake we could make is that we have won it already and what would happen if we win it," Klopp added.

"These things are not in our mind. Of course we try to win the game, it would be massive for us after the start we had. Napoli are a dangerous opponent.

"There are two weeks between tomorrow night and the Salzburg game (final match of the group) and we have three games in between. Why should I think about the Salzburg game now?"

Against Napoli, Liverpool can obviously count on Sadio Mane.

Mane has, in the words of Liverpool teammate Andy Robertson, "taken his game to another level", stepping out of Salah's shadow to become arguably the main man at Anfield.

The Senegal international shares star billing with Salah and Roberto Firmino as part of the European champions' electrifying and fluid front three.

But this year Mane is leading Liverpool's charge - his goal at Selhurst Park at the weekend was his 12th of the campaign and his 29th for the club in the calendar year.

Mane frightens defences with his pace, direct running and skill and his goal return has eased the burden on the shoulders of Salah.

Liverpool defender Robertson praised Mane after his goal in the 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace, which kept Liverpool eight points clear of second-placed Leicester in the Premier League.

On Wednesday he will train his sights on Napoli.

"He has been fantastic," said Robertson. "Even when I came he was amazing but maybe did not have as much composure as he does now in front of goal.

"Now, every time he's in front of goal you don't think he'll miss. The one he had at the start of the second half (of the Palace game), we were surprised he didn't score and that is the type of player he is. You expect him to score and that is a good thing and he's popped up with another crucial goal."

"The others are pitching in as well but it's been a fantastic year for him and he's taken his game to another level," Robertson added.

Mane joined Liverpool in 2016, a year before Salah, but the Egyptian quickly became the alpha male at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions in a remarkable debut season in 2017/18.

Last season the two players shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the three forwards all scoring 22 goals.

And Salah has pipped his teammate to the African player of the year award over the past two seasons.

Both have been shortlisted again for this year's prize and Mane, who reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal this year, is seen as an outsider to win the Ballon d'Or.

Mane has talked about how lucky he is to play alongside his two attacking comrades-in-arms.

"Every single player who plays alongside them would enjoy it because they are very good players and they make everything easy, so I just enjoy playing alongside them," he told the official Liverpool magazine. 

WEDNESDAY'S MATCHES

(UAE TIME)

Champions League

Zenit v Lyon (2155)

Valencia v Chelsea (2155)

RB Leipzig v Benfica (2355)

Barcelona v Dortmund (2355)

Slavia Praha v Inter (2355)

Lille v Ajax (2355)

Liverpool v Napoli (2355)

Genk v Salzburg (2355)


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