Salah's second-half turnaround should surprise no-one, says Klopp

Salah missed a spot kick in a frustrating, goalless first half but changed his boots at half-time before breaking the deadlock with a 49th-minute strike

By Reuters

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores against Newcastle United. — AFP
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores against Newcastle United. — AFP

Published: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 3:42 PM

Nobody should be surprised Mohamed Salah was able to recover from missing a penalty to score twice in a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United on Monday that gave Premier League leaders Liverpool a three-point cushion, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Salah missed a spot kick in a frustrating, goalless first half but changed his boots at half-time before breaking the deadlock with a 49th-minute strike and then converting a penalty in the 86th for 151 Premier League goals at Liverpool.

"We should not be really surprised that Mo can change a game, can improve in the game, because he did it hundreds of times," Klopp told reporters.

"But it's just a really good example. The more goals you have, the more you're used to missing chances and the more you just understand what you have to do keep going and if necessary keep improving, using the situations better, and that's what Mo did."

Salah, who will join up with Egypt for their African Cup of Nations campaign this month, is now joint-top goalscorer in the league with Manchester City's Erling Haaland on 14.

"It's not superstitious because I play with many boots. But when I feel it's going to play with my head, okay, out, change the boots," Salah said.

Liverpool thoroughly dominated against Newcastle on a wild and rain-drenched evening at Anfield, with 35 shots to the visitors' five, and 15 shots on target.

"I didn't have to look at the stats, because I saw it. It was really special," Klopp said. "It was (partly keeper Martin) Dubravka.

"We didn't stop, that's the most important thing."

A couple of weeks after calling out the Anfield crowd for two uncharacteristically quiet games, the German had nothing but praise for the fans who braved the blustery conditions on Monday.

"Tonight the atmosphere was absolutely exceptional in how we all took together, these missed chances," Klopp said. "It was not like 'Oh my god, what are they doing?' and I would understand that in moments, but everybody was just really on fire and we go again, we go again, we go again and we did.

"So, super game from start to finish, super high intensity."

There was a moment of panic for the coach when he lost his wedding ring on the pitch after full-time while clapping along with the fans. He spent several moments retracing his steps before spotting the ring and then kissing it with a grin for a television camera.

"That would have been really awful," said a relieved Klopp. "I lost it in the sea once and needed a professional diver. I had a massive shock but it's back."


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